Like most of Bereke clients Helen could not find a job after the collapse of the Soviet Union when the economy of Kazakhstan has been going through reforms. Helen started her trade business selling shirts and tights in the local market just to earn at least some money for her family. Her first loan was 50 dollars US which she could get as a participant of the UNDP microcredit project in Semipalatinsk in 1999. She has remained a borrower of Bereke when the UNDP project transformed into the local microlending organization Bereke. Now Helen is the owner of 2 small clothes shops. She makes business trips to Russia and China, for consumer goods. Helen says that she could not imagine she would have been able to run such a business at the beginning of her career without Bereke. Her business helped her to give education to her daughter, improve their housing conditions, as well as obtain better medical service for herself and her family. Helen plans to increase her business and apply for a larger loan.