DAVAO CITY — The Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD) Inc. is looking at including educational loans in its Shari’ah-inspired financing project that has gained traction in Mindanao.

In a press statement over the weekend, Gilnora Bahia, CARD operations director, said there is a proposal to include study loans in the Paglambo Project, which uses the Murabahah concept of the Islamic financial system.

“This (educational loan) will be a supplemental product and once they avail it, we will provide them with the school supplies they or their children need,” said Ms. Bahia, noting that the proposal is still in the planning stage.

Under the Murabahah concept, the borrower obtains money from the lender and uses the money to buy goods for his or her businesses. Both borrower and lender agree on the mark-ups on the goods that will serve as profit of the latter.

With this arrangement, the lender gets a fixed profit based on the agreement as well as the loan payment period, and eliminates the interest system which Islam prohibits.

CARD said the educational loan proposal developed as the Paglambo Project has grown fast from just having 56 Muslim families as members when it started a year ago to 4,182 as of April this year.

“This milestone on Paglambo’s membership showed how the Muslim communities of Mindanao welcomed CARD, Inc. and its program,” said Jocelyn D. Dequito, CARD executive director.

The project has also expanded its units from an initial two — located in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur and Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao — to 18 spread around the cities of Cotabato, Isabela in Basilan, and Zamboanga and Dapitan in Zamboanga del Sur.

Ms. Dequito said the project is part of the commitment of CARD, a microfinance non-government organization (NGO), to expand its goal of building financial inclusivity.

She also acknowledged and thanked the support to the project provided by Indonesian NGO Dompet Dhuafa, the Peace and Equity Foundation, and the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation. — Carmelito Q. Francisco