Asanbekova Rakiima Kadyrovna lives in the Kyzyl-Tuu village of the Ton district in the Kyrgyz Republic, which is famous for its yurts (portable, round tent homes made of skins or felt), which are distinguished by their special quality, beauty, and grace. Asanbekova and her husband, Sydykov Bektursun Beishenovich, have been making yurts for more than 30 years.
Sydykov worked as a schoolteacher but learned to make yurts from a fellow villager after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990. Together with his youngest son, Sydykov bends the domed poles, constructs and paints the frames. Asanbekova and her daughter-in-law make the interior decorations, including the tension bands, patterned fabrics, woven stripes, and carpeting.
The family makes four yurts a year, which are sold to local residents and some, even abroad, with orders coming from Germany, Switzerland, Russia, and Kazakhstan. One yurt with a diameter of 13 meters (capable of accommodating more than 50 people) was sold to a customer in Turkey for $16,000. Asanbekova is very glad that, like her mother-in-law, she can pass on her skills to her daughter-in-law and hopes the tradition will be passed on from generation to generation.
Asanbekova’s Lender: Salym Finance (Kyrgyzstan)
Founded in 2007, Salym Finance is a licensed Non-Banking Financial-Credit Organization (NBFCO) that specializes in providing mid-sized loans to small businesses in Kyrgyzstan. In a country with a dominant agriculture sector that employs up to 65% of Kyrgyzstan’s workforce, Salym Finance offers agriculture, business, housing, and consumer loans that support the development and growth of borrowers’ businesses. Salym Finance focuses on rural residents, particularly women who lack access to traditional banking services, and prides itself on offering the lowest interest rates among all NBFCOs in the country. Social responsibility plays an integral role in the company’s operations and proves critical to servicing underserved communities in the Kyrgyz Republic, where almost a quarter of the population lives below the national poverty line.
Salym Finance achieved SMART certification in April 2019 for its strong consumer protection principles, with products designed to meet the needs and financial circumstances of its customers to prevent excessive consumer debt. Salym also offers its clients flexibility when structuring loans, allowing borrowers to work with credit officers to determine the most appropriate amount, term, collateral requirements, and repayment schedules best suited to their needs.
Adjusting to COVID-19
During the period of restrictive measures caused by the spread of COVID-19, Salym Finance sent 50% of its employees on paid leave. All offices and branches took measures to prevent the spread of infection through disinfection of customer reception areas, antiseptic installation for general use, and additional rules for servicing in offices.
Due to the difficulties faced by its borrowers with loan repayments as a result of COVID- 19, Salym Finance also granted a defferal for payments on more than 8,000 loans.
 Asian Development Bank https://www.adb.org/countries/kyrgyz-republic/poverty
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