Sirin Yousef’s life changed drastically as a result of the on-going crisis in Syria. Sirin lost both her house and her job as a pharmacist as the conflict engulfed Aleppo. Physically and mentally exhausted and full of despair, Sirin sought to support her and her husband’s family by returning to her hometown, Tartous.
Back in her hometown she was informed about First MicroFinance Institution by a neighbour and a relative, who are both beneficiaries of loans from the institution. Sirin was intrigued by their positive experiences, and applied for a loan herself. Her request was approved, and with her first loan of SYP 50,000 ($150) she started her own business buying and selling basic medicine. Through a second loan of SYP 150,000, she expanded her pharmaceutical services to a broader variety of products, including various medical supplies and accessories, baby supplies, and cosmetics.
As a result of opening this pharmacy, Sirin doubled her household income from SYP 30,000 to SYP 75,000. The financially stability attained through opening her own business has improved Sirin’s and her family’s ability to support itself and improved their quality of life. Sirin was able to pay for treatment during her pregnancy, and gave birth to twin boys. Additionally, the loan has allowed her to continue to expand her services, and, being the only pharmacy among ten neighboring villages, improve the quality of life in the general community.
Sirin plans to expand and improve her business through further loans and investments. She is currently considering participating in FMFI’s SME graduate programme. In addition, Sirin and her husband are renovating their house, as well as building another floor. The loan has thus allowed Sirin to improve her standard of living, to fulfill social obligations to her family, as well as contribute to the health of her community.