Self-Help International

Self-Help International (SHI) devotes its efforts to alleviating world hunger and poverty by providing opportunities to rural citizens that ultimately lead to self-reliance. Since its inception, Self-Help has served as a vessel; training, education, and opportunities are provided to rural citizens and whole communities in developing countries so that they can have better lives. MISSION STATEMENT: To alleviate hunger by helping people help themselves. SELF-HELP'S INITIATIVE Educate: We educate the people of the United States to understand the problems of life in developing countries particularly the awareness of the perpetual struggle by millions to produce and distribute food to battle p...
Apr 10, 2015

Mushroom production to the rescue!

Veronica has a new mushroom business
Veronica has a new mushroom business

Veronica and Gideon are married for more than two decades and have three teenaged children; 2 boys and a girl aged between 14 and 18 years old. Veronica has been a petty trader all these years while her husband worked with a mining firm. Ghanaian mine workers used to enjoy good slaries and it has been the dream of many Ghanaians to work with mining firms.

Globally, gold prices have witnessed continuous decline the past five years and it is having unberable consequences on many mine workers and their dependants in Ghana; some have lost working hours and others have become jobless. Gideon lost his job in 2013 and Veronical tells Self-Help the news about Gideon’s retrenchment hit the family like a tsunami. “For a moment I felt my world had caved in and I was completely lost,” she lamented.

The job loss compelled the family to relocate to their home village, Obuasi, which resulted in the collapse of Veronica’s petty trading business. Feeding a family of five and paying for tuition for two high school students and one junior high student were challenging tasks. Veronica resorted to selling sachet water by the road side, earning up to five cedis ($1.66) on a good day. However, the worsening energy supply situation in Ghana and nation-wide rationing of power - 12 hrs with power, 24 hours without power- has posed a major setback to her sachet water business; her freezer breaks down quite frequently and the cost of repairs were draining her capital.

In December 2014, Veronica saw an ad by Self-Help International and quickly enrolled to acquire hands-on training in mushroom production which she completed in January 2015. Although the business is barely two months old, already she is managing 1,000 mushroom bags and makes a weekly sale of GHC 30 ($10). Just like many new products, their home grown mushroom is enjoying minimum but steady patronage from their community, a situation which encourages them to give their new business all their best.

Unlike the water business, this new venture has the potential to become a family business, creating employment for all family members. The market is being explored to solicit more customers, which will soon increase revenue to more than GHC 100 ($33) cedis weekly. Already, Veronica enjoys a lot of support from Gideon. Since she is virtually illiterate, he helps with records keeping and marketing. Veronica is receiving additional training in marketing at the Self-Help International Frances and Virginia Lagerschulte Young Adults Training Centre. With value addition through packaging, pricing and promotion her sales would increase bringing her enough revenue to feed herself and her family.  

Your donations have made it possible for families, like Veronica and Gideon's, to learn new skills and start new businesses.

She sells GHC 30 ($10) of mushrooms weekly
She sells GHC 30 ($10) of mushrooms weekly

Links:

Apr 7, 2015

Feeding program revives patriotism

Children line up to get their meals
Children line up to get their meals

Bedaabour is a farming community in rural Ghana with about 1,000 people. They are mostly farmers growing cocoa, rice and vegetables. It has no electricity but is blessed with one borehole as a water source. Like many rural communities, pupils rarely stay in school beyond Junior High, partly attributed to economic hardship, low enrollment and poor attendance. Parents are usually unable to pay school fees regularly, to provide breakfast regularly, or to purchase the school supplies to sustain their children’s interest in learning.

In January 2014, Bedaabour Islamic Basic School became a beneficiary of the Self-Help International (SHI) School Feeding Program, which provides breakfast prepared from Quality Protein Maize for school children. Both the parents and teachers have since supported the program relentlessly. In March 2014, the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) cultivated one acre of maize (corn) to ensure the school had a regular supply of maize for the breakfast porridge. The PTA has resolved to grow maize yearly.

In addition to maize, the school plans to have an acre of rice to feed the increasing number of pupils in 2015.

Initially, the school had no proper kitchen and cooking was done under a wooden shed; flies and dust were major distractions, a situation which affected food quality and pupils’ health. Due to the poor roof, cooking was halted whenever it rained. With Self-Help’s support, the school has constructed a new kitchen. Self-Help also provided health and hygiene education to the volunteer who prepares the daily meals, lessons she has shared with the students, including information regarding hand washing.

The feeding program has directly contributed to increased student enrollment and improved daily school attendance. Enrollment at pre-school and kindergarten grades increased by 13% from 87 students to 99 students, necessitating the construction of an additional classroom.

With improved enrollment and attendance, the need for a latrine became extremely urgent. The PTA has provided the school a temporal latrine. Provision of a latrine coupled with proper hand wash has brought about significant improvement in pupils’ health. Sicknesses related absenteeism has reduced. In the past, pupils would run home to answer nature’s call and would not return for the rest of the day. These cases have stopped now that students can answer the call at school.

In a country where corruption among political leaders is rife, it is gratifying to observe that through the Feeding Program, people of Bedaabour, especially parents and teachers of the Islamic Basic School, have exhibited patriotism, communal and ‘can do’ spirit, something which have eluded many Ghanaians.

Your donations, which brought the school feeding program to Bedaadbour, has helped this community come together in support of its children. Thank you for your generostiy.

Old kitchen
Old kitchen
New Kitchen
New Kitchen
Happy kiddos at the Beddabour Islamic School
Happy kiddos at the Beddabour Islamic School

Links:

Mar 31, 2015

The healing of Primativa

Primativa
Primativa's health improved with proper medication

Primitiva is a 39 year old woman from the Las Azucenas community. She has two sons who help her with chores around the house. Her oldest son cuts oranges for a company called Naranjera and with the little that he makes, he supports the family and pays the home expenses. Primitiva suffers from a disease called psoriasis that is carried through the blood and slowly eats away at the skin, causing flesh wounds. By the end of last year, it got so bad that she was not able to work anymore on her bakery business and instead it was her son who took over the business and baked to afford the house.

Primativa came to the women’s health training on Nov. 27, 2014 and explained to SHI staff that according to the doctor her problem could be cured if she takes the proper medication, care and rest. The problem was that the medication she needed was too expensive for her to afford. I went with Self-Help’s micro-credit officer, Yolanda, to San Carlos to follow up on the medications in the doctors prescriptions and went to two different pharmacies and found that the medications would cost $500.

With Self-Help’s assistance, Primativa was able to receive a donation of $500, enabling her to purchase medicine to treat the disease. We recently visited Primativa at her home and she is getting better and better each day. Already, the wound, which was once extremely deep, is becoming significantly smaller. Primitiva feels very happy and is thankful to Self-Help and to those who have donated, because with all the support, she is healing and becoming stronger. She is excited to get back to work so she can earn profits to contribute to her family again.

Your donation has helped Primativa, and many women like her, improve their health and quality of life. Thank you for your generosity.

*Note: To protect Primativa's dignity and because the problem was severe and images may upset sensitive readers, the photos included only show Primativa after she had received medical care.

Primativa
Primativa's leg is healed & she's now back at work

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