Empower 450 Women in Ghana with Microcredit Loans

by Self-Help International
Lydia stands next to her new sewing machine
Lydia stands next to her new sewing machine

Lydia is 36 years old and has two daughters, ages 11 and 2 ½ years old. In 2010, she made the decision to join the Self-Help International micro credit program in Bedaabour. She had witnessed improvements in the lives of people who had joined the program when it first came to the village in 2008 and became convinced that the program could help her help herself.

Lydia completed seamstress apprenticeship in 2000 and started practicing thereafter. Ten years down the line, there was no sign of improvement in her finances. Bedaabour is a small community with fewer than 50 dresses sewn annually; most of which are sewn during Christmas. It was difficult caring for her only daughter, and earning additional income was a must. She took out a loan from SHI in order to expand her business to trading fabrics in addition to sewing them.

The sale of fabrics serves as a boost to her sewing business. Rather than people purchasing fabrics elsewhere and bringing the fabrics to Lydia to sew, they can now come to her to purchase the fabrics and have the clothing made all in one place. In 2013, she was able to invest in a new sewing machine. She saves part of her profit and re-invests the rest to expand her petty trading. With extra money earned, Lydia is able to provide her daughters with food, clothing and continued education.

Despite her new purchase, Lydia keeps her old sewing machine even though it no longer works because it helps her remember the past and how far she’s come.

Because of your support, Lydia and many women like her can find success and in the process provide better care for their families. Thank you for your donation.

Lydia selling her merchandise
Lydia selling her merchandise


Sarah and her husband with tricycle
Sarah and her husband with tricycle

Sarah  is a 38-year-old woman who lives in Nkawie Panin, a farming community in rural Ghana. She is married and has four children, three of whom are in school.

Up until 2009, Sarah was working as a petty trader and made very little money from her work. She sold fresh produce, such as cassava, plantains, tomatoes, and onions, in low quantities. She bought the produce from a nearby market, about half a kilometre from her house. Prices at this market were higher than those at other, larger markets, which were further away from her home, but she could not afford transportation to larger markets and farms. As a result, her business was generating very little income for Sarah and her family.

In 2009, Sarah applied for a microcredit loan from Self-Help International, hoping it would help her grow her business and increase her family's income.

That year, Sarah received a $25 microcredit loan from Self-Help International, which allowed her to start trading at a small table. She continued to sell food and grow her business, and by 2011, she had expanded her table into a 10x10x8 foot wooden structure, with a refrigerator and a television.

She now has a greater variety of items in her inventory, including canned foods, milk, cooking oil, pasta and soap.

In 2013, she purchased a tricycle so she could move produce from farms to markets. Sarah's husband operates the tricycle, transporting goods for Sarah's business, and also transporting goods for others for a fee. He also is a managing partner in Sarah's business and operates the shop from time to time when Sarah goes into town to purchase goods. Her children also help run the shop when Sarah is preparing meals for the family.

Sarah tells Self-Help International that her secret is hard work and trustworthiness. She is grateful to Self-Help International, especially the microcredit loan program for women.

Thank you for your continued support of SHI's Women's Micro-Credit Program. Because of your generosity, Sarah, and many women like her, have found great success.

Sarah's original shop in 2009
The new store built in January 2014
The new store built in January 2014


Abena setting up for a chemical treatment
Abena setting up for a chemical treatment

In Ghana, West Africa, lands are small in size and owned by agricultural indigenes. Commercial farming is nearly impossible within these lands due to fragmentation and minimal access to agricultural credits. Because  agriculture is weather dependent and “risky”, receiving credit from the bank can be difficult.

The key to alleviating hunger in Ghana lies within the hands of the farmer. With a micro-credit loan from Self-Help International, Abena, who is 55-years-old, is able to afford all that is needed to maintain her half-acre rice farm. She was able to buy a rain booth, knapsack, and fertilizer with the micro-credit loan.

Today, Abena tells Self-Help International that her farm is doing well, but that and she still on has half an acre due to non-availability of land.

Because of your generosity, Abena and other agricultural farmers in Ghana are able to afford the necessary supplies to maintain their lands and ultimately, alleviate hunger. Thank you for your support and donations to Self-Help International.

Rebecca in front of her kitchen and store
Rebecca in front of her kitchen and store

In January 2013, the Executive Director and Board President of Self-Help International visited Ghana. Their quest to experience improvements in the lives of SHI micro credit program beneficiaries took them to a remote village, Kyereyaase.  Rebecca, 39 and a mother of four, told them how she was able to build a structure, a joint kitchen and a shop with savings from her business. Her kitchen used to be a dilapidated bamboo structure with no roof.

On March 16, 2013 disaster struck. There was a storm and several structures in Kyereyaase were destroyed. Rebecca’s new structure was gone. The roof flew off and hit an adjacent building and another portion of the building was broken.

When Self-Help visited Rebecca 10 days later, the building was already being rebuild, and very quickly. When Self-Help staff asked Rebecca how she was able to do this her reply was, “with support from the SHI micro loans.”  

Rebecca requested to extend the repayment period of her current loan from Self-Help by one month and our staff agreed without hesitation.

Because of your generosity, Rebecca is able rebuild her beautiful new kitchen and store. Thank you for your support of Rebecca and many other women like her.


Margaret and two of her children.
Margaret and two of her children.

A number of young girls in Ghana become pregnant after completing Junior High School and their dreams of growing up to be nurses, teachers or doctors are shattered.

Margaret  Owasu, 43, became a mother after O-level (Junior High) but kept her dream of becoming a teacher alive. She started as a pupil teacher in her community in 1994.

She has been a beneficiary of Self-Help micro loans since 2003. She bought a deep freezer in 2005 which she uses to sell water and ice cream for additional income. She admits that without the loans she and her five children could not survive.

In 2012 she enrolled in a three-year program to earn her diploma in Basic Education by distance learning. She promises to dedicate her project work (thesis) to Self-Help. She prefers to call the Self-Help International loan as "semanhyia" meaning "savior."

Your support of Self-Help's Micro-Credit Program has helped Margaret, and many others like her, on the path to success. Thank you for helping to keep dreams alive.



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Organization Information

Self-Help International

Location: Waverly, IA - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.selfhelpinternational.org
Project Leader:
Nora Tobin
Waverly, IA United States
$37,320 raised of $45,000 goal
423 donations
$7,680 to go
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