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...
Nov 25, 2014

Self-Help partners to provide clean water

Chlorinator installation at Isla Grande
Chlorinator installation at Isla Grande

Christian is in charge of the hygienic and security department for the orange company FRUTAN. He recently contacted Self-Help International (SHI) to obtain information about installing CTI-8 water chlorinators at several of FRUTAN’s orange farms.

Self-Help International staff asked Mr. Gonzalez how he had heard about this program and he answered that he was from northern Nicaragua where there are also CTI-8 water chlorinators installed. He also said his former employer installed the chlorinators and he considers them one of the best as CTI-8 chlorinators are easy to acquire and manage.

When Christian came to work in southeast Nicaragua he found out that the water FRUTAN employees were drinking was untreated. He asked the general manager about the poor water quality and the manager said he didn’t have any idea where to get the proper treatment for the water or where to go since their location is so far away from the city. Christian told the manager about Self-Help International and the CTI-8 water chlorinators. He explained to his manager the benefits of clean water to FRUTAN and its employees including the technical training provided to manage the equipment.

Not long after, Self-Help staff met with Christian to discuss the clean water program and its mission. With the help of SHI, FRUTAN made the plan to install water chlorinators at seven different locations. By the end of November, six of the seven chlorinators will have been installed bringing clean water to more than 1,500 more beneficiaries. Chlorinator locations include Lote, Melchora, Garita, Palo de Arco, and two in Isla Grande.

It is important that we work together to help provide clean water to the people of Nicaragua. Your generous donation has contributed to the installation of 40 total chlorinators providing clean water for more than 33,000 people. In addition, your support allows companies that care about their employees, like FRUTAN, to collaborate with Self-Help and ensure its employees have clean drinking water.

Chlorinator installation in Lote
Chlorinator installation in Lote
Chlorinator installation at Melchor
Chlorinator installation at Melchor
Installation at San Pancho
Installation at San Pancho


Oct 31, 2014

Creative training & support help build businesses

Women's micro-credit group from Cruz Verde

The Self-Help International (SHI) micro-credit program recently has been focusing developing the professional skills of women and youth beneficiaries. These skills will provide meaningful incomes while enabling them to remain in their communities and homes to take care of their families. With new job skills in practice, beneficiaries will benefit with new job opportunities, better nutrition and learning how to save money.

Self-Help also provided courses in piñata design and funeral wreaths for All Souls’ Day so beneficiaries can increase the variety of their services and grow their businesses and income. In addition, SHI offered training courses for personal development including classes in self-esteem, gender, reproductive health, health and nutrition.

Self-Help’s newest micro-credit group (see photo above) is made up of nine women from the community of Empalme de Cruz Verde. Together, the women went through all the required training offered by Self-Help International before they could get their loans. Over a three-month period, the women took courses in self-esteem, business management, business planning, pickling vegetables, hot pepper sauces, jelly and marmalades. After training each woman got her first loan of $50. The women will use the funds to grow their small business some of which include making and selling tortillas, cosmetology, buying and selling grains, buying and selling products, growing vegetables and much more.

SHI is working in six different communities with 84 women beneficiaries. The beneficiaries are sharing their positive experiences with other women from their communities. News of Self-Help’s programs is traveling from community to community and more women are interested in SHI’s training and personal development skills.

Adelina is from Las Azucenas and is a tailor. She keeps herself busy with sewing projects for her community including school and cheerleading uniforms, skirts,  dresses, table cloth, bags, among other products. In the photo below, Adelina is displaying aprons she made for Self-Help International to be used by micro-credit beneficiaries that are baking, selling products in the street or in the local market. And while preparing food. 

Adelina said she thankful for the support and training the micro-credit program has provided to her.

“I am now earning money and working in my home. I provide everything in my house ranging from meals to paying monthly bills,” said Adelina. “Thank you very much for caring about women like us that are lack of opportunities in life.”

Your donation has helped Adelina and the women from Cruz Verde explore their talents and grow their businesses. Thank you for your generosity.

Adelina displays her aprons
Adelina displays her aprons


Oct 13, 2014

Graduate's business creates employment

Graduate Samuel (right) in front of cropping house
Graduate Samuel (right) in front of cropping house

Samuel completed a course in mushroom production at Self-Help International’s Frances Mueller and Virginia Lageschulte Training Center (FMVLTC) in June 2014, and now has a growing business that is creating employment, improving the environment, and providing a more nutritional food source for the market.

Last month, Samuel started up his mushroom business in Offinso, a town in the forest region of Ghana with several timber mills. These timber mills produce tons of sawdust causing considerable environmental pollution due to inefficient waste management practices. The sawdust is sometimes set on fire to eliminate it, and other times carried away by wind with the potential to cause lung infection and other respiratory diseases. Samuel’s business makes use of this sawdust for composting, thereby offering some relief in minimizing this environmental menace. He tells SHI the abundance of sawdust for composting reduces his production cost. He only pays for transportation. It costs 30 pesewas ($0.10) to produce a 1.5kg bag of sawdust compost which sells for one cedi ($0.33). Meanwhile, one 1.5kg compost bag produces 6 cedis worth of mushroom ($2.00), a significant return on investment.

Samuel sees a lot of profitability in mushroom sales since most mushrooms currently available on the market are wild mushroom, which are seasonal and expensive during lean seasons. As an accountant, he is aware of the significant benefits of taking a loan from SHI, where the interest is a flat rate without any additional hidden fees that are charged by most commercial banks in Ghana. With his loan, he was able to invest in building the cropping house for his mushroom.

Yet he is motivated not only by profit from his business but also his contribution to creating employment for the youth. By October, he had already created new job employing three people who were formerly unemployed. Awudu and Zakaria are both full-time employees who assist with composting and bagging for mushroom production, and Mamuna works part-time.

Samuel has big plans to grow this business into three major cities, creating even more employment as the business grows. He and his wife have one son and one adopted daughter (niece) in their care. Even though he has a day job as an accountant and his wife works as a nurse, he says it would be challenging for them to care for the children’s needs and school fees without this supplementary income. He plans to expand by marketing the mushrooms to hospitals as well since they are currently promoting low cholesterol diets and increased vegetable consumption.

With the outbreak of Ebola in Africa and heightened education for people to stay away from bush meat, availability of skills and resources for people to go into agro-based enterprises such as rabbit rearing and mushroom production will not only create employment for the youths, but will also provide more affordable and healthier nutritional sources, which minimizes morbidity rates and increases productivity. Thank you for your support of Samuel’s business, which is providing better livelihoods, healthier foods, and safer environments for many residents of the Ashanti region.

Mamuna, Awudu, & Zakaria bagging compost
Mamuna, Awudu, & Zakaria bagging compost


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