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 batt...
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

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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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Mar 3, 2015

Transforming lives: Ayishetu's story

Ayishetu in front of her partly completed house
Ayishetu in front of her partly completed house

Through micro loans, Ayishetu, a beneficiary of the SHI micro-loans program is able to change her social status; lives a decent life, provides medical care, food, clothing, shelter and education for her family. Ayishetu’s story is one of many successes the SHI micro-finance program has chalked.

THE TRANSFORMATION

Ayishetu is a 55-year old married woman with four (4) children. She is a native of Timeabu in the Ashanti Region of Ghana, where she works with her husband on farming and has started up her own petty trading businesses. Thanks to her hard work, dedication, and some support from Self-Help, she is achieving her dream for her children to live better lives and achieve better economic status than she was able to.

Before meeting Self-Help, Ayishetu was a farmer, and all six family members lived in a single room thatched house. Privacy was a luxury and her children could hardly do any private studies after school. School grades were bad. They had one treated bed net to sleep under to prevent malaria, but the congestion in the bedroom made it impossible to use. Malaria was common among her children and she spent many otherwise productive hours at the clinic seeking treatment for a sick child instead. This had adverse effects on her income.

Ayishetu joined the SHI micro-loans program in 2012, and is currently on her fifth loan of GHC 350 ($100) to be repaid over six months. After completing the training in 2012, she received her first loan of GHC 150 ($42), which she used to add petty trading on to her farming business as an additional source of income. Subsequent loans went to expand the business, and profits invested in children’s school fees and to build a new house.

Her new home, a two-bedroom house, is coming up fast. One bedroom is ready and occupied. With this, she hopes to improve the health, safety and comfort of her family.

Successfully, Ayishetu’s three oldest sons have been able to complete apprenticeships in mechanics, masonry and electric work. The oldest of Ayishetu’s sons is 26 years and lives in Tarkwa in the Western Region of Ghana. The three younger ones live with her at Timeabu. The second son, with his expertise in masonry provided free labour for their new house. Her youngest son is fifteen (15) and in junior high school class 1 (7th grade). In the new house, he will have space to do private studies and better his grades. There is joy in the house of Ayishetu.

Though Ayishetu is making some progress, there are challenges confronting her. She tells SHI, as she travels on foot from one community to another selling her ware, rain occasionally comes unannounced and walking long distances is having adverse consequences on her aging feet. However, she is not overly disturbed and believes that nothing good comes easy. She is ready to work even harder to make life better and worthwhile for herself and her family.

Continuous access to micro loans tailored to alleviate hunger in rural Ghana will create a better future for people such as Ayishetu and her children. Thank you for your support.

Ayishetu and her three sons
Ayishetu and her three sons
Ayishetu
Ayishetu's old home

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