Greetings and we hope this update finds you well. Just to let you know, your financial contributions to Pro-Microfinance DR Congo have had an enormous impact in improving the living standard of families in Butembo, North Kivu. Our recent contributions have made it possible for us to work with a new organizational partner active in grassroots peace building. PMI has extended micro loans to target demobilized soldiers and vulnerable persons in Butemobo and offer lifeline financial support, through its new partner PEREX.
PEREX, a local organization, works to offer community-based reintegration services to demobilized combatants, their families, and extremely vulnerable members of the community. PEREX previously partnered with international NGO’s such as CARITAS in order to extend business opportunities to demobilized combatants and vulnerable members of their host community, such as work-and-pay projects to repair community infrastructure together. Since the completion of the reintegration programming funded by these INGOs, PEREX has been seeking critical support to sustain livelihood services to its members. One of the vital needs of the members of PEREX, many of them with vocational training, has been access to financial services.
PMI therefore recently partnered with PEREX to work with 15 solidarity groups formed by PEREX, each group made of 5 members. Many of the groups have taken and repaid their first group loan, some have taken a second loan, and some have even paid back their second round and are going for their third round. Borrowers have also received trainings in budgeting, record keeping, and entrepreneurship. Here is a big thank you from the PMI team and all its beneficiaries!
PMI’s visiting team members from the USA met with several beneficiaries of the new partnership. Maman Katungu, for instance, used to bring supplies to her husband while he was stationed in a rebel outpost in North Kivu. Since her husband returned to civilian life, Maman has acted as the head of her household, selling fish and saving in an indigenous, neighborhood savings scheme to help her family’s 3 school age children stay in school. Since joining PMI, Maman used her first $100 loan to switch from selling fish to selling tomatoes, which she says has a higher daily profit. She is eagerly looking forward to her second loan, which she says she’d like to use to invest in a communal selling space with the other women in her self-help group.
With its focus always on community needs, PMI’s scalable and sustainable programming works from the bottom up to provide alternatives to hundreds of market women (and men) like Maman. Consider making a contribution today to our efforts in the Congo.
Mr Kasereka, a demobilised soldier shares his story
“My name is Kasreka, I am a demobilized soldier. During the demobilization, rehabilitation and reintegration program, I was trained by CARITAS as a mechanic man and received a starter kit. I started a small motorbike repair shop here at the roadside. Later on, I joined PEREX for follow up training as Caritas did not have follow-up programs. From PEREX, I learned how to manage small business and was able to get a Loan from PMI with my other 4 self-help group members. Today, I train 7 school boys in motorbike mechanics during their school vacations. I also have a small chair-making business and farm pigs at home. “
Julia Smith and John Kavyavu
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