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...
Mar 16, 2016

I feel at ease knowing my daughter is well fed

Razak with daughter Faustina
Razak with daughter Faustina

***TODAY IS A BONUS MATCHING DAY - READ HOW YOU CAN INCREASE YOUR IMPACT BELOW***

Last July, we reported to you that in rural Ghana, quite a number of children spend time idle at home or with their parents on their farms rather than in school. The importance of formal education had not dawned on most parents within Beposo community in the Atwima Mponua District despite the nationwide push for primary education.  Now, six months later, we are finally seeing a shift in that attitude among parents in Beposo.

On February 9, I visited Beposo along with our school feeding program officers to talk with the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) about how things are going in the community, and what their goals are for their children’s education. The strong turnout of parents at the midday meeting demonstrated their commitment to their children’s education, and what they shared was even more encouraging.

Razak is a farmer whose daughter Faustina is in the same class as Agnes and Akwasi. He shared that the school feeding program has been great for his family because it gives him peace of mind knowing his daughter will get breakfast, even if he has to go out to the farm before feeding the kids. 

“Since the feeding program was introduced, I feel much more at ease any time I leave the house for work because I know my daughter is in school and is being taken care of by the teachers and is being fed well,” said Razak.  “I feel at ease and feel relaxed with my work, and I appreciate the fact that the feeding program is here. I am very grateful.”

Razak’s story was not unique. Many of the parents spoke up to say that the school feeding program makes life a little easier and lessens their worries. Fathers like Razak set out for the farm early in the morning before children are up and about so they can get work done before the heat of the day gets unbearable and they have to take midday breaks. Mothers also have to leave very early in the morning to walk to other rural communities to sell their wares as petty traders or to take their produce to the local market on market day. Staying home to provide breakfast for children and see them off to school before going to work means missing income-generating opportunities that are critical to putting food on the table. Even in the dry season when food is more scarce, they know their children will eat breakfast.

Thank you for your support, which is easing the burden on hardworking mothers and fathers who want what we all want: what's best for their children. When you give a gift to support the school feeding program, you ensure that a child like Faustina gets the breakfast that she wouldn’t otherwise eat, ensuring that she starts the day well fed and ready to learn.

***Please support the school feeding program TODAY, MARCH 16 with a gift any time from now until Midnight Eastern / 11 PM Central. All donations made today will be matched so your gift nourishes even more children!!***

The PTA discusses school feeding program
The PTA discusses school feeding program
Parents share the impact on their children
Parents share the impact on their children

Links:

Mar 16, 2016

Finally! Practical Training for Ag Science Class

Justice warns students about the tough job market
Justice warns students about the tough job market

***TODAY IS A BONUS MATCHING DAY - READ HOW YOU CAN INCREASE YOUR IMPACT BELOW***

Students at St. Joseph Senior High School now have the practical skills they need to be able to enter the rural workforce. A few months ago, we started a remote training workshop series on mushroom production at the high school, located at Bekwai, Ahwiren in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. The training workshop was organized to create awareness among the General Agriculture Science students about the current youth unemployment crisis in the country, and to empower them with practical skills and knowledge to start up their own oyster mushroom production enterprises in case college education is not an option following graduation.

The mushroom training was divided into three sessions, one theory course, then two practical sessions.  In the theory course, participants at the workshop were briefed about Self-Help International, our mission and vision with an emphasis on how to adversities in entering the workforce, including opportunities available to them through the Young Adult Training Center.

During the second training session, the students were guided to prepare 100 kg of compost, which the medium that mushrooms grow in. One critical aspect of the training was how to determine the composition of the compost. The students learned the proper ratio of 500 kg of sawdust, 35 kg of rice bran, and 3.5 kg of oyster shells. Most of the students initially had difficulties determining the proper ratios when scaled down to one fifth of the ratio, but eventually they all got it correct. At the close of the second training session, the students were counseled to turn the mixture every four days for the next twenty-eight days in order to complete the compost preparation.

Once the compost was prepared, I returned for the third and final training session, where the students were taken through the process of bagging the compost for mushroom production. A total of ninety 6” x 12” plastic bags were filled with compost. These bags were then sterilized, the spores added, and they were stored in a cool place. The students were pleased to see their hard work come to fruition when they harvested the first crop of mushrooms. 

After completing the workshop courses, the students expressed satisfaction with the training received. This is their first time ever to have received such hands-on training, and they enjoyed reaping the benefits of their hard work!

Thank you for your support, which is enabling hundreds of students to learn the practical skills they will soon need to become a productive member of society.  This free course is only possible thanks to the generosity of donors like you! 

 ***Please support the Young Adult Training Center TODAY, MARCH 16 with a gift any time from now until Midnight Eastern / 11 PM Central. All donations made today will be matched so your gift nourishes even more children!!***

Turning sawdust-rice bran-oyster shell compost
Turning sawdust-rice bran-oyster shell compost
Students bagging the compost
Students bagging the compost
Students show off their mushroom bags
Students show off their mushroom bags
Students with bags after spores added
Students with bags after spores added

Links:

Mar 8, 2016

Now I am a more powerful woman!

Migdalia bakes breads to diversify her business
Migdalia bakes breads to diversify her business

Doña Migdalia is a 51-year-old married mother of three from the community of Aldea del Mañana. Like many women in rural Nicaragua, she wanted to help support her family financially. So Migdalia decided to use her back garden area to plant fruit trees including mandarin, lime, orange, and guava, so she could sell the harvest in the local markets.  She also grows garden vegetables such as tomatoes, hot peppers, and sweet peppers.

To sell her produce, Doña Migdalia traveled to the Masaya market, which is about 50 miles from her community. However, since the produce she grows is relatively common in the region, she wasn’t able to sell them for very high prices.  When she went to the market, she incurred fees for transportation each way, as well as purchasing a midday meal while she was selling her produce. 

 “I usually took a big basket of around 450 mandarins with me to the market, and I got paid 200 córdobas ($7.40) per basket.  From that money, I had still to pay my meal and the transportation fees for myself and each basket I took with me,” Migdalia shared.

Doña Migdalia says that before the training workshops, she had never thought about all the expenses that went into operating her business selling market vegetables, and she really didn’t know whether her business was operating at a profit or a loss. She had never factored her expenses into the income she earned from her sales to find out.   

But after I became a member of the micro-credit program and got trained in business management, making a business plan, and basic bookkeeping among other skills developed, I realized that I was wrong and that I should change my strategy on selling my products.

Now, I add value to some of my products like the hot sauce I make from the hot peppers in my garden.  I plant the seed, harvest the pepper and then prepare it and bottle it to sell it for a better price. And now I sell the fruits and vegetables by unit in my own community instead of in bulk at the market. For example, now I sell each mandarin at 2 córdobas each ($ 0.07 each) and multiplying that by 450 per basket, I get 900 córdobas ($33.33) per basket instead of 200 córdobas ($7.40) per basket.

“It is better than what I was earning before I realized this issue, plus now I don’t have to pay any extra expenses for my meal and transportation to Masaya.  Even better, I can be home taking care of my house, children, husband and any other things like bottling and preparing the hot sauce [instead of traveling all day to Masaya].  Last batch I made 80 bottles of hot sauce, and sold them for 25 córdobas ($ 0.92) each bottle, so in total I earned 2,000 córdobas ($74.00) which is great income to keep.”

Doña Migdalia also shared that some days during the week, she bakes bread which is sold in her own community along with the rest of the other products she sells, so now she earns more profits and spends less money by selling locally. Plus, during the weekends, she has the time to help another lady to sell her products in the nearby Rivas market. 

The lady pays me 200 córdobas ($7.40) every time I go with her, plus she covers the transportations fees and meal, which is great for me because I am earning extra money to keep supporting my family needs, and am also using that income to re-invest in my business by purchasing and planting more fruits trees to have more varieties of fruits.

Doña Migdalia is really thankful with Self-Help International because the training helped her to learn new skills and manage in a better way her business. “Thank you for give me the change of being part of you and become a more powerful woman,” she said. “I am really happy to be part of your team and I hope to keep growing with your program.”

Thank you for your generous support, which is empowering women like Migdalia.  When you donate to this project, you fund free business management and bookkeeping training workshops that help make it a little easier for hardworking mothers like Migdalia to provide for their families. 

*****CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY - MARCH 8*****

***DONATE NOW TO EMPOWER MORE HARDWORKING WOMEN LIKE MIGDALIA IN RURAL NICARAGUA.***

Yolanda (L) issues a micro-loan to Migdalia (R)
Yolanda (L) issues a micro-loan to Migdalia (R)

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