top of page

It's an incredible honor to be invited into the homes of strangers, to sit on their floor, be served tea, and be trusted to capture their life story. After that initial warm welcome, it can feel a little awkward to set up a film camera and ask them to turn in one direction or another so the natural light hits their face in a particular way, but I can't think of any person I've met doing this work who doesn't graciously collaborate and support the film and photography process. Sometimes that willingness seems to come from a place where the individual wants their story told and will do whatever it takes to make that happen, but mostly it feels like people are supportive of the work we do simply because we ask, and they are kind.

FINCA Jordan

In Jordan, we drove with Reham, a local FINCA employee, to Irbid in the north of the country to meet Abu Munir and his family. They live close to the border with Syria, the homeland they fled when the war became overwhelming and their lives there became unsustainable.


"There was a time when we lived in Syria that it was safe, and we had the best of everything. Before the revolution, we had water and electricity. Our vegetables grew, and life was easy. When the revolution came, we were neither supporters nor opponents; we just wanted to live in peace. The sound of rockets being fired from all sides and directions became too much to bear. My family said they wanted to move to Jordan, and I said, 'If we must go, let us do it now.'"

FINCA Jordan

Abu Munir and his family made their way to Jordan and spent time in a refugee camp before borrowing money from family members so they could rent a house.

"I knew I needed to start a business to generate income. Since I can remember, I have been kneading and preparing Arabic bread. I decided to use the last of my savings to buy a kneader and open a bakery business."


As they continued to rebuild their lives, their son felt compelled to return to Syria.


"My eldest son decided to go back to Syria; he thought it was safe to do so. His wife was still there, and he also wanted to look after his grandmother and grandfather. One day he went to buy some bread for his children, and he was killed by a sniper. He is with God now."

FINCA Jordan

When Abu Munir spoke about his son, his voice cracked. His wife looked on as her husband stopped speaking, appearing to be lost in painful memories, staring down at his tea and rubbing the side of his face as if trying to push the dark thoughts away.


It's a strange feeling to witness a stranger's trauma through a viewfinder; at times like this, I wish there weren't any cameras in the room. It is an uneasy dichotomy.

After their son's death, the pandemic hit, and their business suffered along with their financial security. Abu Munir then came across an ad on Facebook for FINCA Jordan and a loan program for refugees.


"Some of the money we invested in the business, and some of the money took care of our bills. This gave us the opportunity to change our situation, and now things are going well, thank God."


After the interview, we all took a walk at sunset across the dusty plains that stretched from their rural home toward the Syrian border, 4 miles away. As the sun set across this arid landscape, I photographed Abu Munir, his wife, and Reham talking and laughing together. After a while, the two women continued talking, but Abu Munir turned his attention toward the sun, toward his homeland, seemingly lost in his own thoughts.

Sometimes you leave a shoot feeling like it has been a really productive day, thankful for the experience you've had, but then there are days like these when, as you drive away, you can only think about the overwhelming challenges people face and what a cruel lottery it is that the country you were born in may remain peaceful during your lifetime or be ripped apart by war.

FINCA Jordan
FINCA Jordan

The following day, we spent time with Rahma and Hikmat, two best friends and neighbors who were constantly laughing and shouting at locals who were questioning the presence of a film crew. Both women are goat herders who also make and sell Ayran yogurt. They told us how they had used loans to invest in and grow their businesses and the impact their sustainable incomes have had on their families.

FINCA Jordan

After photographing Rahma herding her goats across gently sloping hills, we returned to her home for tea and shelter from the sweltering heat. I sat in the corner of the room and watched as FINCA employees Reham and Sajed talked with Rahma and Hikmat, two loan officers, and two goat herders, learning about each other's lives, four Jordanian women sharing tea together.

FINCA Jordan



Game Changers Campaign

One of the things I like the most about FINCA is the human connections that serve as the foundation for responsible loans that genuinely unlock the potential for hardworking people who would otherwise remain locked in a cycle of poverty. Potential exists everywhere, but opportunity does not. Microfinance is not a concept without flaws, but when it works this way, it really does have the potential to change lives.

bottom of page