Want to Directly Contribute to an Azerbaijani’s Goal?

Years ago, a professor introduced me to an organization that allows people from all over the world to loan money to someone seeking to better their lives and their community. It was called Kiva. Kiva, a non-profit organization, has a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world.

When my professor told me that we could lend money to someone and research their country, I decided to loan $25 to a man in Togo who wanted to buy a corn mill and take on his youngest son as an apprentice to create more local sales of agriculture in his community. I think the best part about Kiva is that you get to read the individual profiles of all of the people seeking loans (which are paid back and can be used to fund another person’s wish!). Sometimes charities can seem so large that your impact can feel very small-you don’t know who got your money, how it is being used, etc. With Kiva, I understood that my money was going to a man named Komi for the purposes of buying a corn mill.

Now, to relate this to Azerbaijan: I went searching on Kiva the other week and saw that quite a few people from Azerbaijan were requesting loans for anything from purchasing sheep to expand a local farm to buying their children a plot of land for their marriages. How do you know you can help someone in Azerbaijan achieve their goal? You can see directly on the page how much of a loan the person requests, how much of the loan has been filled to date, and how many people are loaning to the recipient.

Right now, a man named Tavakkul, a farmer whose only income comes from the sale of dairy products and greens, is requesting a loan of 1,200 AZN (Azerbaijani new manat), or $1,550 USD, for the purchase of quality medicines for his animals. This loan request is new as of today and currently has 0% raised. So if you were to donate just $25 to Tavakkul, for example, you would know that you are contributing 1.62% toward achieving his goal.

There are many other Azerbaijani women and men requesting loans for various medicines, animals, agricultural products, and even college funds. Currently, there are 49 loan requests from the Azerbaijani population. I highly recommend that everyone should check out Kiva.org and find an Azerbaijani’s loan request that represents your particular interest in lending funds to those who will truly benefit from Kiva.org.


Post written by Elizabeth Cavin Urquhart

June in Azerbaijan: Cultural Events

Especially during the summer, people from all around the world attend festivals centered on music, art, dance, and other cultural subjects.  If you happen to be in East Asia in June, consider going to celebrations in Azerbaijan that commemorate its National Salvation Day.

June 15, a national holiday, marks Azerbaijan’s National Salvation Day and is celebrated as the coming back of the former Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev (pictured, left) from the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic to Baku in 1993.

Azerbaijani veterans and the members of the defense wing of the military take part in the ceremonial parade each year on June 15.  Azerbaijan’s president presides over this parade, accepting the salute from the various wings or parts of his defense force.

The president also addresses the nation on this day emphasizing the need for national unity and security. These celebrations are also extended to the television, which broadcasts live the speech of the president to the civilians. There are also celebrations in the form of a fireworks display at night.

Also in June, you can attend an art festival in Azerbaijan.  At the Baku Creative Center, performance art, drawings, graphic works, and sculptures will be showcased during the three day Azerbaijan Art Festival.

The opening of the art festival and a press conference for the event will take place on June 4 at the Baku Business Center and then the exhibits will be put on display at the Baku Creative Center.  Beginning on June 7, three-day exhibitions and master classes will be held in Salyan, Saatli, Shirvan, Kurdamir, Mingachevir, Sheki, Gakh, Ismayilli, Khachmaz, and Sumgayit.

The main purpose of the Baku Creative Center is to promote Azerbaijani culture beyond the country, to formulate PR strategy for the implementation of advanced ideas and to help people materialize their creative ideas. So for the month of June, be thinking about the wonderful efforts of the people of Azerbaijan to recognize and honor their heritage and culture.


Post written by Elizabeth Cavin Urquhart