By Andrea Amosson
Dragica Novaković and her family are one of more than 36,000 families who have been able to improve their quality of life due to microfinance loans in Serbia and Montenegro.
Dragica and her husband live in a town that is about a four hour drive from Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. “With the first loan we bought ten sheep. With the second one, we bought goats and tools for my work in welding,” explained Dragica’s husband Vito.
“With the loans, we have bought more animals and we can build a new house. Now we are secure. We have a future. Having sheep is like savings for us,” said Dragica.
The Novaković family has two daughters, Milena, 15, and Jelena, 13. The girls survived winters without any heating for the past 12 years.
“The winters are terribly cold here, because in this region there’s a lot of fog. My daughters suffered from bronchitis,” continued Dragica.
In 2006 they received help through the World Vision ‘Happy Child’ project. They received a stove, which heats the living-dining room and the kitchen. 'Happy Child' is a social program that directly helps children of microfinance clients. It is financed with a percentage of the microfinance institution’s profit.
“Now, my wife and my girls sleep in the living room in the winter, because it is the only warm part of the house,” said Vito.
Dragica is one of many women impacted by small loans provided by microfinance institutions affiliated with World Vision’s microfinance subsidiary, VisionFund.