Last month, I had the opportunity to visit Sierra Leone. During this visit, I talked to over 20 young ladies, one on one, at the Creating Pathways Centre. These school-going ladies became pregnant during the Ebola crisis and dropped out of school.
The ladies told me a bit about themselves and each ended with an appeal. Many of them requested funding assistance to start a small business. The business goal is to help them take care of their kids or support their education. They wanted help to get their lives back on track.
The appeals of these ladies deeply touched my heart. I listened to story after story of these girls who were destitute and had fallen "between the cracks", so to speak. They explained their gripping and precarious situation. Their future looked bleak with no hope and no prospects.
I conveyed to them OUR passion and joint interest. I explained that I would present their situations to you. I gave them a message of hope - that we would try to assist as many of them as possible.
These ladies are most deserving of our support. Providing a loan of $100 to $200 would help many them get their lives back on track - and on the path to self-sufficiency.
It would be phenomenal and life-changing if each one of us could decide to support one of these ladies - around 90 of them in total. We will connect you with the specific lady that your donation supports. Would you consider doing this today?
While in Freetown, I distributed microfinance funds to Sarah. Sarah is married with 3 kids and her husband is currently unemployed. As you can see in the photos that I took, Sarah, with the funds that I provided, purchased a large bag of powdered milk. She repacked this into small plastic bags - to be retailed in the market. These smaller packets of milk are affordable for families living from day to day. From sales, she will earn enough to feed her family each day.
For Sarah, access to the funds, as in the case of the Ethiopian entrepreneurs, opened up a new door of opportunity. She was exuberant and extended her deep appreciation to YOU.
Thanks again for joining us in changing the course of history of one more family. Today, Sarah and her family have food on the table, thanks to your support.
On a regular basis, we take time to look back and look forward - to see how previous microfinance beneficiaries are doing and what we can learn from them / share with others.
In May, we spent some time visiting with Hawa. Hawa received microfinance funds last year. With those funds, she sold rubber / plastic products like buckets, bowls, items for babies etc. The business has thankfully grown to a point where she is now traveling to a neighboring country, Guinea, to buy stock.
Impact: Her business is helping her provide for her family. They have rented an apartment where they now reside.
Change: She is currently pregnant and as a result she has limited her travel. She now sells assorted cooking items from home. Her business is doing well as people within the neighborhood are purchasing regularly from her. She looks forward to re-engaging in business full-time after delivery. Lesson Learned - The Need for Flexibility: One important lesson here that we will share with other beneficiaries is the need to be flexible in terms of the business that we engage in. We must be willing to adapt and pursue a different business for a brief season - as necessary
Thank YOU: She expresses her thanks and appreciation to YOU, our GlobalGiving donors for the impact you have made in her life - helping her to be self-sufficient.
We are so happy that we made a lasting difference in her life!
Microfinance continues to be in high demand in Sierra Leone. This is due to the fact that this is a proven way of helping people get out of poverty and develop a new sustainable income. Thanks to your support, we offered this lifeline of support in February to Memunatu.
Memunatu comes from a very poor family who lives in a slum dwelling. She has 4 brothers and 4 sisters. Both parents are alive but very poor and unable to take care of their children. Memunatu struggled through her primary and secondary education with meagre support from the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE). Due to her challenging family background (e.g. difficulty in getting a meal a day, no conducive place to study, little or no learning materials, etc.) Memunatu did not do well in the final Senior Secondary School examination (West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination-WASSCE).
However, because of her due determination and quest for advancement in life, she was supported by an individual to pursue a two-year catering course. She graduated with a good result, but has not been fortunate to secure a job.
We have supported Memunatu with a micro-finance grant to embark on micro- enterprise. Based on the nature and volume of her business, Memunatu has requested to utilize the funds in phases as she improves on her business skills as well as minimize risks of losing the seed money due to poor management.
She is using the knowledge and skills acquired in the catering school to prepare and sell by snacks such as fish ball, fish-in-batter, fried sausage, meat pie and kebbe (local food). She makes a return of between Le15, 000 and Le20, 000 ($2.54 -$3.39) a day. She is using part of the profit to take care of herself and her family (i.e. parents and siblings).
Memunatu is very grateful to YOU for this support. She promises to work hard and advance herself and improve the standard of living of her parents and siblings.
Together we are truly changing the world, one life at a time.
Save The Date: Starting at 09:00:00 EDT on March 16th, all donations until midnight are eligible to be matched at the Pro-Rated percent. The Pro-Rated percent is based on the total amount of funds raised on Bonus Day, the amount Develop Africa has raised, and the amount of matching funds that are available. This means we don’t yet know what the matching percent will be but we will find out at the end of the Bonus Day. With this structure, GlobalGiving is able to offer matching funds for every online donation during the day.
Meet Mariatu, a project beneficiary. She is a palm oil (cooking oil) retailer at a local market in Freetown. During the Ebola crisis, her husband was unemployed and she was the sole bread winner.
Thanks to the microfinance loan that she received, her business is doing well. Her family is fed every day and the kids are able to go to school. Your support made a huge difference in sustaining her and her family.
"I say a big "Thank You" for this microfinance program that you made available. During the Ebola crisis, my husband was unemployed. Through this loan, my children have been fed and are going to school. Also, everything is well at home and taken care of - so I am very grateful to you for your support. My name is Mariatu."
Fatmata has been selling dried smoked fish since she was a teenager and opening a small business has been her long-time dream.
The funds she received from this GlobalGiving project helped provide the needed resources to supply her new business with a range of fish processing ingredients, equipment and furniture. With these items, she was able to start her business and make a huge difference in her and her family's life.
Her business has blossomed with the help of her husband Mohamed. He is currently unemployed, but helps her dry the fish for market.
In addition, the funding she received helped her extend their single room with a nice frontage and make their place more secure.
They have been able to pay their children's school fees and provide them with proper clothing. They are now neatly dressed for school, church and other activities.
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