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Dec 21, 2017

Progress Report December 2017

Thank you!
Thank you!

Dear Donors,

As discussed on last report, this November we had a discussion about the challenges of the girls' businesses,  the ways to overcome them and what they have learned so far.These are some of the quotes we have from that day.

“I learned bookkeeping, I entered a meeting to save, I play akwao.”  Sabella[daily savings practice]

“I learned how to save. Every closing day I keep 2000, take 1000 to eat” Mabel

“Before I was misusing money, now I don´t, I separate it and keep for my business.” Sally

“Now I don´t spend, highest I can take for a day is 500 francs” Jacinta [This is under a dollar a day, and she grew her business at an amazing speed.]

“Bookkeeping helps you know you don´t work in vain, you see the amount you need to continue, you see whether you win or you lose. I can remember everything up to one week, but after if I don´t take note I will forget. At the end of the month you look at it and know you really tried. “

[You have been with us for long, allow us to keep some quotes in the original, but very simple, Pidgin English:]

“Yesterday I don rise. Tomorrow I don fall. Business rise and falls.”  Gillian

“Market get one time when profit is huge, other times it depends”  Joy

[You got it right?]

“Love the business, no matter what you do. Today you can rise and tomorrow you can fall.” Esther [Not the first time we hear this. They are working in very unstable economic environments! And yet again, this would still be true in any part of the world, that´s just the way business is.]

 “It´s not all advice that you should follow. People give you bad advice, particularly those in the same business than you” Priscilia

“Items are expensive, transport is more expensive because of the crisis” Enanga

 “During this crisis I make more money, things are more expensive but I also charge more.” Urslar [As you know from our past reports, Anglophone Cameroon is currently under a huge political crisis. - Check out some news.]

“Farming can help you reduce expenditures a lot, when you have your own food” Esther

“Sometimes it´s difficult to be filling the book and if you carry it to the market it will spoil (Marie)”

[Adviced that followed:]

-          Put it near the bed, doing it before going to sleep or as you wake up (Priscila)

-          Tell the child to remind you every day, as a chore. My own is always reminding me “mommy you did not do your book” (Esther)

 “It´s important to have connections so you are informed of prices.”…  “I was in the market and just introduced myself to some of the women selling. Now before going to Douala I call to ask the prices, Douala is so big, everybody sells there, you can go out thinking that cocoyams are 4000 and next week it will be 2000, so If you don´t know the prices you will lose money big time.” Prenet [Who is going really big right now!]

After reflecting on the state of their businesses we went on to draw business plans and detailed breakdown of things they would buy with an extra business grant. But before doing that, we set our goals trying something new. We asked everybody to state “the amount of money you need to be fine” that is your ideal monthly income. Girls thought of it for a while and gave different figures ranging from the very modest 50,000 francs a month to 300,000 francs a month. Why did we do this? It´s a goal for them and an indicator for us.

Their goal: From the real figure, they set out what do they need to do to achieve this. How much does their business need to grow? Is that business enough to take you there or do you need to complement eventually with other things? Many took their current business as a step in the ladder, to eventually do something bigger like small-scale professional farming.

Our indicator: International poverty line is not enough for us, either adjusted by real prices or taken as it is, it´s too low for us to be comfortable saying we have achieved what we want when a girl is making more than 1.90 $ a day. We wanted a goal for full poverty removal that was ambitious, and that would not put somebody in a scenario where, after breaking out, would fall back in. So now we have two indicators that we are more comfortable with. The self-determined goal of each girl, and the average desired income (roughly 186.000 francs a month, some 350 dollars, note this is a cheap country to live in, most office clerks don´t earn this kind of amount), and we have set a clear line where you are considered “graduated” from the program. Get that monthly profit or more for 6 months straight (as they say, sometimes you are up, sometimes you are down, those are figures that are not far from what some of our best girls have done and are doing, the problem is having it month after month).

 

Now.... how are we going to help them achieve this kind of figure without spending too much on a few girls while so many others still need help? Next year we are going to add microloans back into the mix. Independently of the grants we can provide for them, girls will be able to borrow from us bigger amounts of money at any moment, with restrictions based on their background. (They need to have been with us for a while before borrowing, and after they need to start small and repay back successfully before asking for higher amounts).

So that´s where next year is taking us, we have already drawn up the plan and shared it with the girls. Next report, you will get to know more about our plan, their feedback and, of course, what did they do with this grant.

Sometimes we get so excited about what we do that we forget to say thank you. Sorry for that. Before we were about to disburse the loans, we did think of you.

“As you take this money I want you think of one person. She or he is a normal person, like us, who decided to help you out a bit. Every time you grow, she is with you. Every time you fall, she is with you. I want you to think of the person now, and think also every time things don´t go the right way. Any time you think you are alone, any time temptation is coming for you. Because you are never alone, she is with you. And she wants you to succeed.”

Thanks so much for being there, happy new year.

during meeting
during meeting
Joy
Joy
Jacinta
Jacinta
Prenet and her daugther
Prenet and her daugther
Writing business plans
Writing business plans

Links:

Dec 8, 2017

"You changed my life"

Elizabeth
Elizabeth

 

Thanks to your support and donation, Elizabeth improved on her business. In May this year she started selling bread and sardine fish in schools in her locality. Sometimes she sells in the market and she also moves from place to place selling her items. She is very energetic., She is capable of working under any condition with enthusiastic spirit.  The field staff that evaluated her in the field was very impressed with her achievement and we are glad she is doing great. She was quickly able to enlarge her business. By December this year, she is already producing the same amount we gave her as grant, with her monthly profits. She had a problem selling her products due to the shutdown of schools and the political instability of the country during the crisis period.   Gradually things are getting normal and most schools have resumed so she able to carry out her business conveniently.  Elizabeth is the bread winner of her family she takes care of her children, siblings and the entire house looks up to her unlike before when she was regarded as a burden. She is no longer depending on her husband for support since she is able to take care of herself and family. Thanks to your help she is now independent

She had a word for you, who has allowed her to receive the biggest business grant of her life, and for the donors who had helped her since 2013, when she started with the program.

´' Thank the people very much. I am unable to express my feelings. Before my life was centered around my husband,  but now i  am independent and can feed my family. Now I know I can be somebody and can take care of myself. Thank you plenty for your support and may God multiply your resources.

Thanks Reach Out for writing the project´´

 

Thank you very much, you can keep in touch with us by subscribing to our mailing list.

Disbursement of grants with another 17 girls
Disbursement of grants with another 17 girls
Thank you!
Thank you!

Links:

Dec 6, 2017

Activities at Mah Di's orphanage August -September

Donors,

Once more we greet you all and are happy to report to you the various activities that took place at the orphanage between August 2017 and September 2017.

Laundry Workshop

Children were involved in a practical laundry workshop where they were taught how to wash clothes.

Rotative time table of housework: the children decided on rectifications on the time table and continued with no problem.

Visit: out of the center

CASEY Handicap center at Ikiliwindi was visited. They take care of handicapped children. There are members of the Meme Association of Orphanages and Homes. We have been going round to observe how the children are living in the different institutions. See if they are up to the standards other children have. We were able to meet up with finances for transport because you were there to give us your helping hand.

During the core of the political crisis (1st week of October), the children were sent to welding workshops as there was no school. Some others were working with Charles. These were 10 to 12 old children. The girls had hair-dressing lessons at home with an experience hairdresser. The children attended workshops out of the center.

In the center

Church groups, individuals and socials groups, visited with varieties (food stuffs, dresses, soap) and finance for the up keep of the center

Center assistants

The center assisted Bih the blind lady and blind baby in Kumba community. She is working so hard. She has been selling tomato in the market, after it did not do too well, she decided to buy egusi [local seed], crack it and sell. That one is doing well. The small she has she uses it to take care of her child. The child is also blind, he was completely blind since birth. [You might have noticed Mah keeps talking about Bih. We also noticed. We are working with her to write a small project to help Bih a bit more. Will keep you posted]

Some other under privileged persons were also assisted with foodstuffs (Widows and less privileged children of the community).

Health

This period was not really easy. Some of the children had the following attacks. Cold, malaria fever, conjunctivitis. The district health center assisted during this period, they make it completely free for us.

Education

The children have resumed school after long vacation. Studies at home continue.

The start was difficult because of the political situation of the country. [There is a political conflict and a strike that has stopped education for a year in the Anglophone areas of Cameroon] But gradually things are becoming calm and the children have now resumed class. A teacher has been hired for 10 months to assist the level 1 and 2 children in the following subjects: mathematics, chemistry, and physics.        

School at the center

The nursey and classes 1 to 3 continue studies at center school where the teachers are on hire for 10 months. The children now have a good building to accommodate during study period. You did it for us, thank you donors.

Placement

Three children from Root for kids’ orphanage Buea were placed at the center

Internship

Some students from Buea University and Kumba Christian University had a day of internship with us. They are working with the Social Centre in Kumba. They learned about how we take care of children in need and got our story. The children were happy to see new faces.

Meeting: Meeting was held with the children in preparation of the new academic year 2017/2018. Those who have been working during the strike period, they are seeing how they can contribute to their education. Not to the fees, which are covered by us, but with the extra materials they will need.

Celebration: Birthday party was celebrated with the children by a visitor

Agriculture: Animal Husbandry.

We had 6 piglets but 2 passed away. Some matured pigs were sold and part of the money used for the repairs of the piggery. 600 birds were purchased after the sales of 700 3 weeks old chickens.

Building (school) project

The work on the windows and the stair case is going on. Partition of classes are complete. You did this for us and we are grateful. You generously donated and it has led us to this finishing point. God Bless you.

Play ground

It is not really equipped yet, but the children were involved in football, basketball and hand ball.

Conclusion

Thanks so much for your unrelentless effort in this God’s service. God bless you all our donors. Nothing of the above could have been accomplished without your efforts. Please keep on your good work, as we breath we also help others to breath.

Links:

 
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