For FINCA Kyrgyzstan, supporting its clients and the communities in which the organization works is a key priority. As the first FINCA subsidiary founded in Eurasia in 1995, the program places a high value on its Corporate Social Responsibility program, and has identified education as one of its key priorities, supporting efforts at all levels of the education system, and offering no-cost business training seminars for clients to help them optimize their opportunities. In addition, FINCA Kyrgyzstan’s leadership has embraced the country’s revival of its cultural arts and, earlier this year, sponsored the participation of several clients who produce traditional handcrafts at the Oimo Seventh Annual International Crafts Festival in Bishkek and Issyk-Kul-Kul.
For Kyrgyz jewelry designer Burul, participating in the festival was not only a boon to her business but, from her perspective, a true sign that FINCA Kyrgyzstan goes the extra mile to support and encourage its clients.
This is the first time we’ve been able to participate in the fair,” Burul says, “and I was very impressed with the high level of skills we saw from the other participants. We never would have been able to do this without the support of FINCA.”
Burul says she learned a lot from seeing jewelry made by craftspeople from other countries, and that the contacts she made will be very helpful as she tries to expand her business and find new outlets in other countries through which she can sell her goods.
FINCA client Maksat said that, during the fair, he sold all of his paintings, which would normally take him at least six months to a year to sell. He says he has been inspired to expand his range of products, and will begin learning how to make traditional pottery. He also wants to open a workshop where he and his family can train others in this traditional craft.
Traditional felt clothing maker Baktygul, like Maksat, sold out of all her products and had to return home to bring in the rest of her reserves. She said she was energized by attending the festival, and hopes to use her next FINCA loan to purchase an embroidery machine, which she is confident will enable her family to increase the volume of their products and improve their profits.
FINCA Kyrgyzstan’s leadership regards its Corporate Social Responsibility efforts as the most direct way to uncover areas of cooperation between the company and its clients, which, in turn, can help them make more effective decisions about how to best serve their clients and the communities in which they live.