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Empowering Individuals in the Global Community Through Entrepreneurship
Bern is a client of Chamrouen Microfinance Limited client. Bern lives in Phnom Penh with her husband and their 2 sons. She is 47 years old and never advanced past fourth grade education. This is because she was required to work at a young age to earn money for the welfare of her family. She does not regret this but rather is proud to have assisted in supporting her family and continues to have this perspective in her present lifestyle.
Bern operates an independent recycling business which she has done for the past 10 years. Her line of work requires active labor most of the day, every day.
This is a typical work day for Bern: She starts at 6:00 a.m. by taking her cart to various local businesses to buy recyclable materials. For instance she regularly purchases empty bottles from bars in the area, which generally are sold to her for 100 Cambodian Riel (about $0.02 USD).
She usually returns home around 10:00 a.m. to cook for the family and take care of other household chores. During this time Bern also sorts and cleans the collected materials to resell. She is able to resell each bottle for 150 Cambodian Riel (around $0.04 USD), however if she cleans the bottles first she is able to sell each for a higher price of 250 Cambodian Riel (about $0.06 USD).
After completing her work at home, Bern ventures out with her cart again around 2:00 p.m. She walks street to street looking for recyclable materials that have been littered or thrown in dumpsters.
There are also various homes who collect their recyclables for her daily arrival. Bern says these families are very supportive of her business and are grateful for her daily service as it decreases their trash output. She usually returns home around 5:00pm, prepares the rest of the materials, and takes the daily collection to sell at a small local factory.
After purchasing these items the factory takes all the products and ships them to be recycled in Vietnam. Bern returns home around 6:00 p.m., cooks dinner for the family and completes the rest of her home duties.
Bern is in the process of receiving her second loan from Chamroeun in the amount of 406,000 ($100 USD), over a four month term. Her first loan was also for duration of four months but for a smaller amount of 324,800 Cambodian Riel ($80 USD).
Owing to the fact that she was able to easily repay the first borrowed amount Bern was given a larger loan the second term. She uses the money from the loans to buy recyclable materials from local businesses and build up a stock of items to resell.
Before obtaining the loan, Bern borrowed money from her friends and neighbors to purchase materials. Although she was always able to repay the amounts borrowed with her profits, she enjoys the independence and flexibility the microcredit loan has provided her. Bern further expresses how grateful she is to her immediate community for providing constant support for her and the business.
The average daily income gained from Bern’s business is around 32,480 Cambodian Riel (~$8 USD).
Previously she was making a net profit of 20,300 Cambodian Riel, about $5 USD. She attributes this gain to the microcredit loan which has allowed her to purchase additional recyclable materials to then resell.
With the added profits she is able to save a sum amount of money and hopes to one day purchase land. Bern also has a large ambition to set up a small grocery store as she does not like being away from home so much during the day. She would like to be able to spend more time with her family and own a home.
Sanatu is a microcredit client of our partner Grameen Ghana. She used her loan to expand her rice processing business where she removes the husks from the rice kernels and sales them in the market.
As a side business she sells a prepared rice dish called shinkafa da-wachi (rice and beans) made from rice and black eyed peas, with bouillon, salt, pepper, oil and then adds in either dried fish or sometimes meat. Additionally, she sells okra which is grown in a relative’s garden. Sanatu is currently managing a 400 Cidi loan ($220) which is an increase from her first loan of 200 Cidis ($110). Sanatu is working to support 10 children.
Julienne is in their second season with One Acre Fund. She took a loan of 9,500 Rwandan Francs (about $16) to farm 13 Ares of land (about a third of an acre). They only own 8 Ares, and rent 5 additional Ares to increase their bean farm.
The methodology has made a huge difference to the household, where in the past the family was lucky to end up with one bag of corn and beans. The last season the family harvested five bags of beans and corn.
In the past, the family didn’t even harvest enough for their own food needs, but under the One Acre Fund program they are not only able to feed themselves but also sell 3 of the 5 harvested bags in the market place to pay for school fees, school materials and pay laborers to work the farm.
Julienne credits the difference to the ability to access fertilizer and the training she received from the Field Officer at One Acre fund. She said the Field Officer worked with her to order the appropriate amount of fertilizer and implement valuable techniques such as not to mix crops. Julienne and her husband Damacene have 7 children.
Marieme is currently managing her fourth loan from CAURIE which she has used to invest in her fabric selling business. She is managing a loan of 250,000 CFA ($500) which is a big increase from her first loan of 50,000 CFA. In addition, she has 30,000 CFA in savings accrued. Marieme is the secretary of her village bank and found CAURIE when a loan officer approached her traditional savings group (called a tontine).
Marieme is divorced and is raising 4 children, currently from her father’s house but is dreaming of being able to get her own house for her and her children.
Marieme has a small stall that she rents from the market authorities at 20,000 CFA per month ($40). If her savings allow she could one day buy the stall for 2,000,000 ($4,000).
Marieme’s favorite part of CAURIE’s services is the savings dividend program, in which savings are relent informally (but overseen by the CAURIE credit agent for accountability) to members of the village bank looking to top-off their CAURIE 6 month loan. The interest on these mini-loans gets paid back to those who save in proportion to their savings (this is calculated with help from CAURIE). Marieme says that her dividend actually covers the interest of her CAURIE loan, which is a huge perk of the CAURIE program.
Whole Planet Foundation is supporting PMB in the Potosi region of Bolivia one of the poorest and most remote areas of this country. Potosi was once considered the richest city in the world due to the vast mineral resources in the Cerro Rico or Rich Mountain that towers in the background. It is also the highest city in the world at 4090 m well over 13,000 feet with frigid temperatures and a very harsh environment.
The local economy is all based on the mines. Juana sells juice to the miners in the market area near the entrance of the mines. Juana sells her juices from a local market right next to the miners cooperative Association. She is happy that the town recently built a new structure with glass windows indoor to protect from the cold and wind.
Juana is a widow 57 years old has been selling juices to the miners in Potosi Bolivia for the past 20 years. She has 9 children. Mostly she sells bananas papayas and apple juice. Her husband was a minor and died from health complications due to the harsh environment in the mines. The life expectancy of the miners is about 15-20 years from when they enter the mines to work. There are many widows in Potosi.
She's part of the borrower group Rompe Corazones which means the Heartbreakers. She does not hold a formal position and her group she's quite happy just being a member. There are 10 women in her group.
She started working with PMB about two years ago when one of the credit officers came to promote PMB. She says she was very nervous and even scared at first because she had never taken a loan before. She started with only 2000 Bolivianos about $290. She used her first loan to invest in working capital. She estimates that she sells about 400 Bolivianos today which is about $60 and will go through 600 bananas. Today she has a loan of 5000 Bolivianos about $700. She has taken out for loans since she started with PMB. The duration of the loan is six months.
She has used her most recent loan to build the second story of her house and she's proud of the fact that she has worked hard and saved and is able to pass on to her children a place to live. Five of her children still live with her including grandchildren and son-in-law's who work as miners in the rich mountain. The house is pictured with daughter Elizabeth above.
She has taken advantage of the women's health exams offered by PMB and is happy to have access to added benefits.
Her daughter Elizabeth also shown in the pictures helps her mom at the juice bar and also lives with her with her three children her husband works as a miner. She dreams of a better life for her children and her own juice bar outside of the market.
Poul lives in Phnom Penh with her husband and their three children. She is a microcredit client of Chamroeun and is currently on her second cycle.
Poul operates a small restaurant using the borrowed money to purchase food and other materials for her business. She has cooked in the same location for 15 years, which is also her home. Poul utilizes her family’s 2 bedroom home, which also houses 8 other people, to create delicious traditional Cambodian dishes. She finds cooking to be one of her true passions, a learned skill from her mother who is also an experienced cook.
Poul, who is 49, says she is still learning new cooking techniques at times visiting the local market to get recipe ideas. Poul often spends most of the day preparing food, starting at 5:00 a.m. when she goes to the market and ending her day often as late as 9:00 p.m. She sells her dishes from her kitchen and also provides house deliveries.
Although Poul has plenty of customers who come to her home, she looks forward to going to the market and on home deliveries for the change of atmosphere, as she is in the kitchen most of the day. She hopes one day to have a bigger restaurant space with tables and chairs so she can accommodate more customers.
Saman is a microcredit client who lives in Northeastern Thailand, with her husband and granddaughter. Her small home is surrounded with a large production of creating beautiful silk garments. A small fire burns beneath a pot of dye, tight spools of brilliantly dyed silk thread is neatly stacked, raw silk thread hangs loosely in a post, and a huge weaving loom takes up the majority of the outside space of her home.
Her husband sits on the ground carving bamboo pieces to create large spools for the already dyed silk thread. Saman is a silk weaver who has been involved in this trade since she was a young girl, easily seen through the quality of her work. However, weaving is not the entirety of her work. There are many steps between obtaining unrefined silk tread and weaving colorful silk pieces.
Saman, like all other silk weavers in her village, purchases her silk thread from other women in the community who separate the thread from silk worm cocoons into a product that can be used on a loom.
Saman’s job entails her working almost every day of the week for 6-8 hours a day, often operating multiple projects at once. She receives the largest loan of all borrowers from Small Enterprise Development Company (SED) in her village. Her current loan is in the amount of 10,000 THB ($330 USD) over 6 months.
This is her sixth cycle loan which has increased from her first loan amount of 5,000 THB ($165 USD). With her larger loan size she is able to purchase more silk thread and materials, allowing her to produce more silk garments. She weaves about 10 pieces, 2 meters in length each, in roughly one month. As a result of her larger production she is able to sell 8 pieces at 1,000 THB ($33 USD) per item and keep 2 for personal use.
She spends approximately 4,000 THB ($132 USD) on the materials to create silk garments, thus making a monthly profit of about 4,000 THB. As these garments are generally used as long sarong skirts, the traditional attire for women in this region, she says she is thankful that she is financially able to keep some of her products for her family.
With the larger loan size, which yields to more production, Saman is now able to invest more into her work and save a sum amount each month. With the Village Bank she is required to save at least 20 THB ($0.66 USD) but prefers to save more around 100 THB per month.
When she was receiving a loan size of 5,000 THB it was still difficult to purchase all the materials for her work, often having to borrower from her grown children. Shaman now qualifies for a much larger loan with the government savings bank but chooses not to do so as she says her local village bank loan is enough to support her silk production business.
She will apply for another 6 month loan with the village bank in the amount of 10,000 THB in March. Saman expresses she is very content with her lifestyle, she does not require a larger loan to purchase more materials as she is already performing a satisfactory work load that supports her and her family.
Manoja is an entrepreneur from Sri Lanka, where she lives with her husband and two children ages 2 and 10. Her husband works construction. She operates a small business selling dried fish which she buys wholesale from an outside source, packages, and then sells to individual customers.
She makes a monthly purchase of 10 kilos of dried fish for 10,000 LKR (Sri Lankan Rupees) ($76 USD). Then after portioning and packaging, Manoja sells a weekly amount of about 15,000 LKR ($114 USD), generating a monthly profit of about 50,000 LKR ($379 USD).
Currently on her second cycle loan in the amount of 25,000 LKR ($190 USD) she uses the loaned amounts to purchase great varieties of fish in bulk. She enjoys her business and consuming the product herself.
Manoja says “I have the freedom to eat as much fish as I wish and am still able support my family on the profits.” She aspires to begin saving for her children's’ futures.
Habiba rents rooms to tourists in her house. She currently has 6 rooms available for rent. As a side business, she also sells locally made clothes.
Habiba is on her 7th loan with INMAA which she manages as part of a group of three borrowers (her group members do pottery). She started with a 1000MAD ($112) and now manages a loan of 5000 MAD ($560).
Habiba uses the current capital she receives through the loan for improvements to the bathrooms to give a better experience to her clients, and general improvements to the guestrooms and house. Personally, the profit from the business has helped her buy tables and other furniture and she has partially started a second house which will be for the family (she won’t have to live in the same house as the clients stay in).
The guesthouse is a full board experience, in which guests can stay in the guesthouse and also eat meals prepared by Habiba and her staff. Typically the guests prefer the different Moroccan tagines, brochettes (grilled meat), and couscous dishes. She said her family’s favorite meals are usually the tagines, with meat and vegetables. Talking a bit about the preparation of tagines, she said it typically consists of cooking oil, onions and the special Moroccan spice mixture which includes black pepper, cumin, ginger, salt, and parsley. Olive oil is the preferred oil.
Habiba is hopeful about the future, and when she thinks about 5 years in the future she hopes that she can keep her children on track to finish their studies (she has three kids ages 5, 11, 15) and to have her family house constructed so that the guesthouse is an independent business. She said that she would definitely encourage her children to start their own businesses.
Dancille is managing a small loan of 6,670 Rwandan Francs (about $11) to purchase fertilizer in her household garden which is 3 ares (about 3000 square feet), of which half is rented, to plant cassava, fruits and vegetables. Sometimes she grows beans and corn too.
This last season was her first season with One Acre Fund. In addition to her garden, she teaches literacy to adults in her community. She is now trying to create a better working vegetable garden using a tiered planting system.
Pham is a microcredit client who lives in Northeastern Vietnam with her husband and four children. She has borrowed from TYM for three consecutive years, using the funds to purchase supplies for her restaurant. Pham has owned and operated the same restaurant out of her home for 10 years.
The family depends on the income generated from her business as well as that from her husband’s job as a factory guard. She cooks everyday from 4:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. receiving a daily profit of 90,000 to 100,000 Vietnamese Dong, which is just under $5.00 USD. She has future aspirations to upgrade her restaurant and home and is currently saving money to do so.
Nirosha is an entrepreneur from Sri Lanka. She lives with her husband, mother-in-law and two children. Nirosha operates a local small business selling ground spices including turmeric, chili, black pepper, cumin, and coriander. Purchasing whole seeds from a local farmer, she then washes and grinds them before packaging to sell. Each bag of ground spices is 100 grams and sold for a profit of 10 LKR (Sri Lankan Rupees) ($0.08 USD) per bag. She sells an average weekly amount of about 1,000 bags to a variety of local businesses, generating a monthly profit of roughly 40,000 LKR ($305 USD). Her husband, a tuk-tuk driver, helps in the delivery of the spices to homes, restaurants and small shops around the community.
Currently on her second cycle loan from BRAC Sri Lanka in the amount of 30,000 LKR ($229 USD), Nirosha continues to expand her business. Before obtaining the loans from BRAC she said “I was very small because I could not afford the materials to expand.”
Her first loan amount of 25,000 LKR ($190 USD) allowed her to purchase the needed materials for the expansion of her business and purchase the seeds in bulk. Now with the current loan and generated profits, she has purchased a sewing machine and begun sewing pillow cases and bed sheets to sell. She aspires to also increase her sewing business and save enough to purchase a machine used to grind spices instead of paying to use one, which is costly and inconvenient.
Lourdes is a young tradeswoman who runs her own business, a small general store. She is 25 years old and lives in Mariano Roque Alonso, a district known for the largest agriculture and industry fair in Paraguay.
Lourdes is the reflection of many of the women in Paraguay who wiped extreme poverty off, and found in the “Committees of Women Entrepreneurs” (Fundacion Paraguaya’s village banking program) the best way to improve their income and life style.
“When I first started, my store had a plain scale with different metal weights, a couple of shelves, very few merchandise and an old fridge. Now I have a digital scale, a 400 litter freezer, two big fridges and a bigger quantity of merchandise”, the young entrepreneur says with profound satisfaction.
The Fundacion Paraguaya, a local Paraguayan NGO, has more than 2,000 Committees of Women Entrepreneurs (village banking groups) across the country, comprising nearly 30,000 women whose average loans are of $80.
Lourdes, as the other members of the committee, gets microloans for investing in her small business, and training sessions in financial management, leadership, self-management and other skills.
“My first loan was of US$40, which I invested in merchandise for my store. I was so excited! It was the first time in my life I got access to credit. Before that, I always wanted to ask for a loan from a financial institution to fulfill my dream of owning a store”, Lourdes remembers.
Ramirez has all her goals clear in her head, she dreams with something new and saves up to get it.
“Now that I got my dream of having my own little business, I dream with new things. My dream now is to have a bigger store with more merchandise and a small restaurant, where I could sell fast food and drinks. I’m thinking about dismantling this unstable wood construction, buy some new tables, get cable TV and make hamburgers and other kinds of fast food that you can’t get in my neighborhood.”
“When I close my eyes I see my own house made of hard material, my cooler and a TV upstairs in a pedestal support. I also see my restaurant filled with people sitting around the table and I see myself serving them. Since I was young I always dreamed of having my own restaurant. I’m surrounded by people who support me to fulfill this dream.”
For Lourdes, the key is to save money to fulfill her dreams and to help people who might need it. Besides, she has developed her own savings method through the years so that she can reach her goals.
“I always save with a goal in mind. I’ve been saving the earnings from my sales for 6 months now, in a US$3 dollar-a-day piggy bank, for my son’s birthday. And I keep a daily record in my store so I know how much money I need to have in the register at the end of every day”, she explains. “I also plan on buying a freezer to cool drinks as a goal. And I’m going to make it, just as I could buy and pay for my other freezer simply with my daily ice selling profit. While today Lourdes enjoys her best income level so far and a significantly improved life style, it wasn’t always like this.
Her father died when she was only 12 years old. Soon after that she decided, as many young women in the rural areas, to head out for the capital city to work as a housemaid.
She got pregnant at age 19 and with that she took on a whole new set of responsibilities. “I realized I was pregnant when I was in my fourth month. I almost died. I got so depressed because I was going to be a single mom.”
However, as she explains, her situation began to change when she found the Committee of Entrepreneurial Women. This gave her a support system and access to credit to invest in her own business, the small general store, which after three years keeps on growing and giving her hope for a better future.
Sareta is a microcredit client of South Pacific Business Development, Whole Planet Foundation's partner in Samoa. Her first loan of $327 USD was 4 years ago. Her current loan is $1,091 USD and she used it to purchase handicrafts and jewelry made in surrounding villages to sell them at the local market. Roughly once a month she and the other vendors hear of the arrival of a cruise ship to the nearby port. This increased traffic greatly increases her income as she is able to sell her merchandise to visiting tourists.
Before Sareta had the opportunity to secure a microloan from SPBD she had very little income, estimated at about $22 USD a week. At that time she could only offer one tray of merchandise for sale. Now she has three tables and she generates a profit of about $175 USD per week. Sareta is very proud of her business and has plans one day to open her own shop.
Stephanie, a young entrepreneur, operates a small gift shop in a shared location with her father who runs an internet cafe opposite her display cases. She sells, holiday cards like Valentines & Mother’s Day, stationary, balloons, stuffed animals and other toys.
The gift shop is two years old, and one year ago Stephanie took her first loan with Grameen Aval Colombia. She started with a loan of 700,000 pesos (about $390 USD) and now qualifies for a loan of 1 million pesos ($550 USD) which she will use to purchase a glass display cases for her inventory.
On a monthly basis she estimates sales are in the 1.5 million to 2 million pesos range, or about $1000 USD per month. She estimates that she sold 2.5 million ($1,300 USD) alone in Mother's Day gifts.
She estimates she has about 1 million pesos in inventory at this time and she says that the most important thing in this business is to have a lot of inventory for people to look at. According to Stephanie, the more inventory people see, the more they will buy.
Some of her most popular inventory feature characters from The Simpsons, who are remarkably popular throughout Latin America. She says that the Homer Simpson items fly off the shelves.
Jessica is a new client of Pro Mujer Peru in the Whole Planet Foundation funded Cusco branch. She is 33 years old and has 2 daughters, ages 12 and 1 ½.
Her solidarity group name is called Las Golondrinas (which is a bird) and she is the treasurer of her group which means she's responsible for collecting the payments from the other women in her group. Her first loan was for 1000 soles (about $375) and her second loan 500 soles (about $190). She decided to take a smaller loan because sales are down this time of year as she generally sells more during the rainy season when she will ask for a larger loan again.
If you ask Jessica what she does, she will tell you she is a mechanic. She stands proudly and firmly and states that she is a woman working in a man's world. She works with her father, brothers and mother and generally, has her one and a half-year-old baby infant on her back while she works. She repairs motors of any type, mostly gas powered motors such as those used in cement mixers and grinders for corn. She also manufactures hydroelectric generators, called Peltons, for home use and sells them in rural communities which do not have electricity. She has taken mechanic courses at the local technical school, but she first learned how to make the Peltons by looking at a model on the Internet.
The family also has a brick manufacturing business which they work about two days out of the week. She's proud of what she does and the skills she has learned from her father. She uses her profit to pay for her older daughter to go to private school to get a better education.
Jessica dreams of having a larger mechanic shop, becoming an expert mechanic and having more income to provide a better life for her children. She also wants to inspire other women to follow her example to do men's work. Jessica dedicates her life to her work and her family.
Thusitha is a brilliant, talented woman from Sri Lanka. She’s a tailor, designer, painter, etc. It is amazing how skilled she is. She is popular in her community for making wedding dresses. BRAC Sri Lanka currently serves 100% women clients and Whole Planet Foundation will provide them with a $500,000 grant over the next 3 years, with a goal of reaching 2,644 new borrowers.
Microcredit client Kalpana, a seasonal vegetable farmer from Bhirgaun, Dhankuta in Nepal, sells her vegetables in the local market. Whole Planet Foundation partners with Nirdhan Utthan Bank and Mercy Corps in Nepal where Whole Foods Market sources tea. Our goal in supporting this community with a $312,000 grant is to reach 10,000 farmers like Kalpana who do not have access to traditional financial systems.
Felicienne is a farmer who grows climbing beans with the help of One Acre Fund in Rwanda. The name of her farmer group is Twishyirehamwe, which means "Let's be together" in Kinyarwanda. One Acre Fund serves subsistence farmers, who make up 75 percent of the world’s poor. It provides farmers with a “market bundle” of services—including formation of the group, seed and fertilizer, and education—and are repaid for those services. In 2011 One Acre Fund served over 70,000 farm families impacting over 350,000 people living in those families. Founded only five years ago, One Acre Fund has been recognized by prestigious early-stage grantmakers such as the Echoing Green, Draper Richards and Skoll Foundations. In 2010 and 2011, One Acre Fund won the FT/IFC Sustainable Finance Award for Achievement in Basic Needs Financing.
YIM is a microcredit client of Chamroeun in the Phnom Penh region of Cambodia. She invested her loan and now sells vegetables in the local market.
Chamroeun has 18,544 active clients and a repayment rate of 99%. Whole Planet Foundation hopes to reach 6,042 new clients over the next 3 years with a $500,000 interest free loan.
Wilman is a young microcredit client in Ecuador who is building his business and improving his life with the help of microloans. He even helps build his community by making and selling the bricks that are used to construct many local houses.
Whole Planet Foundation partners with FODEMI in the Otavalo and Latacunga regions of Ecuador where Whole Foods Market sources Whole Trade Guarantee Flowers. With a $300,000 interest free loan, the foundtaion hopes to reach 1,000 new clients over 2 years. Photo courtesy of Megan Bond Hinrichsen.
Business: Grocery and Butcher's Shop
Business: Prepared Food
Including Red Red
"My name is Regina. I am a member of the “Wuni Songmi ti” credit group located in Zogbeli, a suburb of Tamale in Northern Ghana. I started the “red red” business 10 years ago with an initial amount of GHC 50.00 which I obtained from my husband. I could only buy 3 bunches of plantain and make an average sale of GHC 10 ($6.60) a day. The profit in the business was so small (GHC 2 or $1.32) that it couldn’t sustain my family. I could only use the money to buy food for my children.
There were so many challenges to the growth of my business. I couldn’t buy plenty plantain from the market women because my capital was very small. Also, since the plantain came only occasionally, I always finished selling the few that I could buy and kept waiting until the market women returned from the South with fresh plantain. This affected the growth of my business and the profit I made. This situation continued until I met Grameen Ghana last year.
I took an initial loan of $100. After paying on time, I requested for $300 in the second cycle. With the loan and business education provided by Grameen Ghana, my daily sales have increased and the profit from my “red red” business has also increased.
With increased capital, I have added a new product called plantain chips. This is also made from plantain but unlike “red red” the chips are fried dry and can be stored for long periods. I supply these chips to shops and offices all over the Tamale metropolis.
The support received from Grameen Ghana under WPF support has transformed my live in various aspects. I am now highly respected by my husband because I contribute to the family budget. I am now able to pay the school fees and hospital bills of my children as well as buy clothing for myself and my children. I no longer rent equipment for my business as I have been able to buy all the necessary equipment
While thanking you so much for your support, I want to encourage you to continue to expand your support to help change the lives of many other poor women in my area. I also want to say that the change you have brought into my life will be even greater when you increase my loan size to enable me increase my business to meet the growing customer needs."
Business: Animal fattening
Abebecha uses her loan funds to purchase young cows (one at a time) which she raises to maturity and sells at a profit. This activity is somewhat unique to this area of Ethiopia and differs from typical livestock raising in that the cow actually lives in the house with the family while it grows rather than having a separate pen or roaming in a field.
Abebecha is in a solidarity group called Derartu which means flower in the local language.
Itah lives with her spouse and son in the neighborhood in Banda Ache on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia. Just around the corner live her mother Saudah, and her aunt Siti Atah as well as her other three brothers and sisters and their families. The three women have come together to expand the family business; selling “Karah” a traditional cookie of the Ache province - a very popular dessert food among youth and children.
Itah was the first in her immediate family to attend University and upon graduating with a degree in Administration began working as a secretary at a popular newspaper agency. Itah’s mother Saudah, like her mother, had no formal education. What she did have was a simple family recipe for “Karah”, a fried cookie of sort, with its main ingredients including rice, sugar, oil and spices. After getting married and having their first child, Itah begin pondering how she could start something on her own in order to gain greater flexibility in her demanding daily schedule. Itah needed more time to maintain her newly established family; she wanted to set her own agenda and start her own business. Itah decided to quit her job as a secretary and join her mother and her aunt with the “Karah” business. According to Itah, this was not looked upon as a step back, but as a step forward as Itaha’s plan was to develop and expand the family business.
In 2009, after hearing about microcredit and the opportunity to access financial services in her village, she convinced her mother and aunt to join her in applying for a loan. All three women joined microfinance groups within their neighborhood and received first time loans of IDR 2,000,000 (USD ~$230) . The capital went directly to purchasing ingredients in bulk at a lower cost and packaging materials in order to extend the outreach of their product. Without any problem, Itah was able to pay back her first loan. Itah, as well as her mother and her aunt have now taken out their third loan of IDR 3,000,000(USD ~$350). Utilizing Itah’s administration education and her natural entrepreneur spirit, with the extra capital investment in the business, earning and profit continue to increase dramatically.
Before the access to capital, maximum output was around 100 cookies (sold at IDR 1,000) per day. Within three years they have nearly doubled that to 200 cookies sold per day. Not only is Itah making more money than she was as a secretary but now she has more time to spend with her family. Apart from this, Itah also gained social recognition in her neighborhood. She was selected as the center president of Center #41, and according to her “is responsible for protecting the program and supporting her fellow entrepreneurs when needed to ensure the continued success of her Center”. Itah has a strong zeal to expand the business further. Her next plan is to design a personal trademark for the family recipe and begin to distribute the product wholesale in order to cut out the middle man; lowing costs and increasing profit.
Roselene is a microcredit client of WPF partner Fonkoze in Haiti where Whole Foods Market sources mangoes. Roselene is 57 years old with 9 children ranging from 12 to 35, and a total of 10 grandchildren. Roselene was a victim of the hurricanes and storms that ravaged Haiti in 2008, and with the help of Fonkoze, was able to restart her business and rebuild her life. In the 2010 earthquake, Roselene again lost everything. “I had some things at my home, and I have my Fonkoze bank account. I am starting again with the little merchandize I have left.” She lives in the tent city, where she has restarted her business again with the assistance of Fonkoze. “My Fonkoze credit agent came to see me a couple of days after the quake, I knew he had lost his home as well, but he was there reassuring me that we will make it.” That, she said is also a big reason she will not give up. Roselene will put her business and life back in place. She finds strength because she knows she is a “member of a group of women who have been given second chances, but with Fonkoze, we keep getting these chances whenever we think all is lost.”
Astou is a married woman and mother with 5 children (3 boys and 2 daughters), she manages a restaurant in her neighborhood situated in the heart of Ndoffane. She typically prepares Ndambé (a meal of beans and tomato sauce) for lunch, and ragout (a vegetable and meat stew) or touffé (chicken cooked in a sauce of onions for dinner)- and sometimes Thieboudienne (Senegalese national dish of fish filled with local spices and slow cooked in vegetables and a tomato sauce) for lunch as well (rice is the staple starch/accompaniment in Senegal). She also offers hot drinks like coffee and tea. Her clientele is made up of neighbors and travelers passing through Ndoffane, and also largely those who come to the weekly market (known as the “Louma”) in Ndoffane.
Astou started with CAURIE microfinance the 29th December 2010 with a first loan of 50,000 CFA (about $100) with a duration of 6 months and is currently managing a second loan of the same size.
You can find the recipe for Senegalese Rice and Fish here.
Ayse (pronounced Aisha) took her $500 loan with TGMP and opened a small food stall serving hot lunches of standard Turkish meals to workers in Denizli town.
Like her fellow group members borrowing from TGMP, Ayse has worked hard with her loan and set-up a small business that she manages with a friend and the occasional help of her two young daughters. Preparing traditional soups and stews that I learned are staples in this community, Ayse has managed to create an income that also lets her as a single mother watch her children when they are home from school.
Being able to run home-based businesses or businesses near the home was one of the most common benefits clients mentioned when talking about the new micro-credit services offered by TGMP. In an industrial town like Denizli often the only other option is factory work which requires paying for child care and transport to work.
Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity; it is an act of justice.
The poor themselves can create a poverty free world.
Ingrid Munro, Director of Jamii Bora, a Whole Planet Foundation partner in Kenya
One cannot lift a person out of poverty. There is no country in the world that has raised itself out of poverty through charity. What we offer to Jamii Bora members is access to a ladder that they can climb up to take themselves out of poverty. But the climbing they must do themselves.