Partner of the Month
Iriny is our Partner of the Month for July, 2020. Her business of selling clothes to her neighbors has supported her children in a way that is often not possible for children in Upper Egypt who have lost their fathers.
Watch this video to hear Iriny's powerful message of hope!
Iriny lost her husband 3 years ago. At age 29, she found herself a widow left to raise 3 children alone. Living in Sohag, a very conservative community whose traditions confine young widows to their homes, Iriny was restricted from entering the business community and earning a real income.
One morning, Iriny recognized her children’s needs were not being met. That day she decided to make a change that will allow her to provide them the best future possible and become an advocate on their behalf. Before starting a business, she first had to overcome her in-laws’ refusal to allow her to work. However, her in-laws recognized her persistence and determination and relented, giving Iriny permission to work with a few conditions. She had to agree to stay home and she could not ask her family for any financial help.
In 2019, she started a textile business from her home. She bought some garments, sold them to her neighbors, and began building a loyal clientele.
After developing her business for several months, she approached Koinonia Ventures. In partnership with KV, she refined her proposal and was ultimately approved for a 15,000 L.E. loan to grow her business. Using her loan, she is now able to offer a larger variety of merchandise, buy merchandise in bulk directly from the manufacturer, and dramatically expand her customer base. She applied for, and received, a second loan for 40,000 L.E. to further build her business. Iriny will use the loan to transition her business out of her home into a storefront, and she will also expand her merchandise offerings. Throughout her journey, she continually gave back to her community and family.
"Without Koinonia’s advice, prayers, and financial support, I couldn't have done any of this. My dreams would have been impossible if I had to pay interest to a bank, and we would have been in a significantly different place. Koinonia is my answered prayer." - Iriny
Iriny’s motivation stems from her desire to be a role model for her children. She wants to raise them to be independent, ambitious, and resourceful members of the community who believe that God will support their hard work and make their dreams come true. She also hopes other widows can learn from her experience, realize their true potential, and experience a hopeful, meaningful, and purpose-driven life.
We are so proud of Iriny and incredibly inspired by her example!