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Micro-credit brings new opportunities 
in Albania's poorest neighborhood

A micro-credit project in one of Albania's poorest neighborhoods has been started by members of the Ananda Marga universal Relief Team (AMURT). The project gives loans ranging from $100 to $500 to individuals with small businesses. So far 30 businesses have taken part in the program and all the loans are being paid back on time.

The loans are given to business people who organize themselves in groups of five. All members of the group are responsible to pay their own loan and, if any of the group members defaults, the others in the group are responsible for that loan as well. It is a system similar to that pioneered by the Grammeen Bank in Bangladesh.

Businesses receiving loans included a pharmacy, a shoe-maker, small shops, transport services, a concrete block maker and artisan carpet and quilt makers,

The project is being done in Bathore, a squatter city near Tirana, which is populated by Albanians who migrated from the north of Albania following the end of the communist regime and the collapse of many of its state run farms and factories. Bathore is an area of high unemployment with a shortage of basic services such as water, sewage, roads, power, health care and education. 

In the past year a task force of 12 non-governmental organizations has been working to provide some of these missing services to Bathore, and the AMURT micro-credit project plays an important role in addressing the problem of low income and unemployment. For more information about the program visit the web site or send an e-mail to






This article was posted on the web on October 10, 2000