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 30, 2014

Tomasa grows her business and serves her community

Tomasa stands in her store
Tomasa stands in her store

Tomasa, 52, is originally from Carazo, but currently lives in the community of Melchorita. She has six children, one of which still lives at home with her and her husband, Juan de Dios Pérez. Tomasa bakes bread that she sells to the community every Saturday at her small grocery store. As a farmer Juan harvests rice, corn, beans, plantain, and cassava on his own piece of land.

In December 2009, Tomasa received her first loan of almost $240 and paid the loan off within 11 months. In 2012, she received her second loan of $100. She paid it off in four months. In the same year, she received a second loan for $127 in which she paid off in six months. Every loan Tomasa received was used towards improving the conditions of her grocery store, hiring more staff, and purchasing supplies that her costumers and the community needed.

This year, Tomasa received her fourth loan of $130 that she plans to pay off in six months. She is really thankful for Self-Help International’s support. The loans have allowed her to continue purchasing and selling products to the community. With her profits, Tomasa has been able to purchase a Movistar phone to keep in touch with her family in Carazo.

Because of your generosity to Self-Help International, Tomasa and other members of the Melchorita community are able to purchase the necessary supplies to improve their quality of life. Thank you for your support.

Tomasa has a variety of products for sale.
Tomasa has a variety of products for sale.

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Apr 8, 2014

Kontomire feeds school children

Kofi, a pupil, carrying his bowl.
Kofi, a pupil, carrying his bowl.

Kontomire is a farming community in rural Ghana, about 32km from Kumasi. There is a lack of electricity, and the village is lucky to have boreholes that supply good drinking water. The local school, which goes from kindergarten to junior high, has observed a decrease in attendance, especially among the younger children.

The parent-teacher association found that most children stay away from school because of hunger. A solution was formed in which each child from kindergarten to primary 1 would pay 50 pesewas ($0.25) to be fed lunch each day. Since then, the school has been serving lunch on a daily basis.

The idea of feeding kids to keep them in school has been a worthy cause, but it still faces several challenges. Children whose parents are unable to afford the 50 pesewas are left out of the solution. Also, when Self-Help International visited Kontomire in October 2013, they observed that the cooking was done in the open and in deplorable condition.

The quality of food was of low standard and cooking was delayed each time it rained. In compromise with SHI, the community provided lumber and labor for a new school kitchen while Self-Help provided aluminum sheets and nails. Although provision of a kitchen was part of the solution, there was still one more challenge.

SHI observed that all the children, including Kofi (6), carried their plates and bowls to school every morning. Some of the bowls were not properly handled and at times the kids used them as play objects. This too, was a health hazard that affected the quality of the food being served.

SHI responded by donating 76 plates to be kept at the school. Kontomire is very thankful for the support from SHI. In February 2014, Kontomire will partake fully in the Self-Help International Quality Protein Maize (QPM) Feeding program. The community has already acquired farmland to cultivate QPM. With the help SHI has given, the community of Kontomire will be able to serve children breakfast prepared from QPM every school day.

With your support, children like Kofi will be fed on a regular basis. Thanks to your generosity, Self-Help International is one step closer in alleviating hunger by helping people help themselves.

Meals being prepared in the open.
Meals being prepared in the open.
Kitchen under construction
Kitchen under construction

Links:

Mar 4, 2014

Self-Help loans transform Sarah's life

Sarah and her husband with tricycle
Sarah and her husband with tricycle

Sarah  is a 38-year-old woman who lives in Nkawie Panin, a farming community in rural Ghana. She is married and has four children, three of whom are in school.

Up until 2009, Sarah was working as a petty trader and made very little money from her work. She sold fresh produce, such as cassava, plantains, tomatoes, and onions, in low quantities. She bought the produce from a nearby market, about half a kilometre from her house. Prices at this market were higher than those at other, larger markets, which were further away from her home, but she could not afford transportation to larger markets and farms. As a result, her business was generating very little income for Sarah and her family.

In 2009, Sarah applied for a microcredit loan from Self-Help International, hoping it would help her grow her business and increase her family's income.

That year, Sarah received a $25 microcredit loan from Self-Help International, which allowed her to start trading at a small table. She continued to sell food and grow her business, and by 2011, she had expanded her table into a 10x10x8 foot wooden structure, with a refrigerator and a television.

She now has a greater variety of items in her inventory, including canned foods, milk, cooking oil, pasta and soap.

In 2013, she purchased a tricycle so she could move produce from farms to markets. Sarah's husband operates the tricycle, transporting goods for Sarah's business, and also transporting goods for others for a fee. He also is a managing partner in Sarah's business and operates the shop from time to time when Sarah goes into town to purchase goods. Her children also help run the shop when Sarah is preparing meals for the family.

Sarah tells Self-Help International that her secret is hard work and trustworthiness. She is grateful to Self-Help International, especially the microcredit loan program for women.

Thank you for your continued support of SHI's Women's Micro-Credit Program. Because of your generosity, Sarah, and many women like her, have found great success.

Sarah
Sarah's original shop in 2009
The new store built in January 2014
The new store built in January 2014

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