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...
Jan 6, 2015

Fankamawe opens a school

Sugar, cups, spoons, baskets from SHI
Sugar, cups, spoons, baskets from SHI

Fankamawe, a rural community in Ghana has no electricity or pipe borne water. There is one bore hole serving the entire community of 300 people. They are predominantly farmers and the women do palm oil processing to earn additional income for their family upkeep.

Fankamawe is 4 km (about 2.5 miles) from the district capital, Nkawie. The road to the community is not tarred and very dusty, especially, in the dry season. There are no vehicles plying this road regularly so people trek to get basic supplies from the capital. It has no school and children must travel 8 km (about 5 miles) daily to and from school in Nkawie. It is difficult for children under six years of age to trek this far to school and as a result they stay at home all day and this deny their mothers the much needed time to focus on their jobs. The children play most of the time in a dusty environment; a condition conducive for worm infestation.

A school being built by the government for the community is taking much longer than expected to complete. A three-classroom block started by the government in 2009 is not finished and it does not look like it will be done anytime soon.

In February 2014, Self-Help International (SHI) staff visited Fankamawe and discussed challenges confronting the people and possible remedial measures. After subsequent visits and discussions, Fankamawe now has a school for the children under six years of age in the community. There are three female volunteers on whose shoulders the school rests; Alima, Zuwera and Safinatu. Zuwera is the teacher while Alima and Safinatu are the caterers. It is worth noting that the response by the community to start a school that would provide breakfast for the children every morning was unprecedented. Almost instantly they provided maize needed to feed the children for a whole school term.

The QPM breakfast is attracting children from neighboring villages and school enrollment is increasing progressively. Enrollment has increased from 28 pupils on Nov. 3, 2014 to 35 on Dec. 17, 2014.

As the children continue to attend and stay in school, they acquire knowledge, stay healthier, and their parents have ample time to focus on their jobs raising the necessary income for proper care of their families.

Your donations, which brought the school feeding program to Fankamawe, have made the difference in encouraging this community to better invest in their children. Thank you for your ongoing support!

Pupils attend classes in the incomplete building
Pupils attend classes in the incomplete building
Maize supplied by the community
Maize supplied by the community
One of the community meetings at Fankamawe
One of the community meetings at Fankamawe
Zuwera serving children breakfast
Zuwera serving children breakfast


Dec 4, 2014

Training Center includes youth in programs

Youth are given lessons in making funeral wreaths
Youth are given lessons in making funeral wreaths

Self-Help International is expanding its training program to include youth beneficiaries.
The Fred Strohbehn Training Center in Nicaragua is now involving children in training programs. The youth are children, nieces, nephews, and/or grandchildren of women beneficiaries in either the micro-credit program or participants in the training center program. Children can start learning useful skills for personal growth and to contribute economically to their families.
Thus far, 86 children have participated in the program, and Self-Help staff aims to involve 100 children by the end of the year.
To integrate children into the training, Self-Help is providing courses geared towards a younger audience. Recent participants were trained in leadership, reproductive health, sexual violence prevention, gardening, self-esteem, creativity in business, and athletic games so children can learn interact with youth from other communities.
In addition, Self-Help International provided courses to both women and children in piñata design and funeral wreaths for All Souls’ Day. Beneficiaries have benefitted from an increase in their variety of services and a growth in business and income.
In the most recent funeral wreath workshop, 32 women and 13 youth from the communities of Quinta Lidia, Santa Isabel, Laurel Galán, and Melchorita participated. The women and their children can earn up to 120 cordobas ($4.55) for each funeral wreath. Making and selling the wreaths in the local community is better for the women, and cheaper for the customers. It also saves in transportation costs.
Your support is helping children to learn new skills and contribute their family income. Thank you for your generosity.


Dec 2, 2014

Strength in unity: Kwaso group a shining example

Group members display savings books
Group members display savings books

The average Ghanaian is individualistic in nature; wants to do everything all by himself or herself and has little trust in partnership. According to many, this explains why Ghana has fewer industries capable of employing more than 50 people. Many indigenous Ghanaian industries have died with their originators as those around were never allowed to play the much needed sustainability roles.

Culturally, men are considered superior to women in Ghana and this greatly hinders their progress. In many cases women have to consult before they act and this somehow is backed by a Ghanaian proverb ‘sbaa t tuo a twene barima dan mu’, which translates ‘if a woman buys a gun it is the man who keeps it.’ To the detriment of building a better nation, this culture has killed many great ideas thought of by women. When women unite they conquer and move forward.

The Self-Help International (SHI) micro-credit program is helping to build and strengthen the sense of togetherness and culture of partnership among its more than 400 female beneficiaries. These women have built good homes, take care of their families and brought development to their communities.

Nokware Women’s group from Kwaso is one such group. In February 2007 numbering just five (5) they joined the SHI micro-credit program and by dint of hard work and unity their membership grew exponentially.

During the 2012 National Farmers’ Day celebration they were crowned the best women’s group in the Ejisu-Juaben Municipal in Ashanti region of Ghana. They received a certificate, building materials, knapsack sprayer, machetes and rain boots. Though important, these items never quenched their thirst to break more barriers.

Kwaso Women’s group at the 2012 National Farmers’ Day

In 2013 they added cassava processing to their various income generating activities. The environment for the processing is quite difficult. The processing is done in the open and they are at the mercy of the weather and smoke. This notwithstanding, they produce one of the best gari in the municipality.

In a meeting with the executive director of SHI in March 2014, it became apparent that the way forward was for the group to relocate to pave way for shed construction and mechanization. The women made a promise to relocate for further development.

In September 2014, SHI learned that the women had met with the chief and elders and received at no cost, a parcel of land valued at 5,000 Ghanaian cedis ($1566). It is almost impossible for any single woman from the community to chalk this feat.

With this development, the group will process more cassava which will address a critical challenge facing Ghanaian farmers; lack of ready market for farm produce. More employment avenues shall be created, especially for the youth which will minimize crime rates in the community and the surrounding area.

Your support has helped the women of Kwaso group, and many like them, to expand their business and become more independent. Thank you for your generous donation.

Group members processing gari
Group members processing gari

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