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Microfinance

Rebecka’s business is sending her children to school

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Rebecka is a farmer and mother of five from Boti in Ghana. Rebecka has become an entrepreneur thanks to her partnership with The Hunger Project.

Rebecka participated in the microfinance program implemented in her community by The Hunger Project. Thanks to this program, she was able to take out four different microfinance loans.

With the money from the first loan of 100 cedis (the local currency equivalent to about AUD$22), she took it and invested it in her sustainable palm oil and agriculture farming business. She made a small profit and repaid the loan back quickly.

For her other microfinance loans she was able to buy a motorcycle which she now leases to people in her community. Motorcycles are useful for transport in rural communities and leasing them out allows her to pay off the loans and make some money on the side.

“It’s a big encouragement for me to have my own business. I feel proud to be self-employed and not work for somebody else,” Rebecka said.

Thanks to the money she’s now earning from  her business she can afford to send her children to school. Rebecka has lifted her family out of hunger and with her children attending school they too are keeping themselves out of the cycle of hunger. Her husband has even decided to take part in some of The Hunger Project’s training programs, but she asserts that she is financially independent.

“My husband helps me with my business, but I take care of the money. My money is my money. 

 “I like to be employed by myself, I’m proud of my company,” she said.

Rebecka has bigger dreams and a wider vision for her business. She would like to expand her business in the future to a bigger farm, reaching more communities and she wants to partner with The Hunger Project as she does it

I need to buy larger pots for the palm oil so that I can produce larger quantities. I’m quickly outgrowing myself. When I have paid off the latest loan, I want to take out another microfiance loan, with the lessons I learnt from The Hunger Project, so I can buy more pots.

“My plans now are to expand the business so that I can move from the family farm and build my own house with my husband and our children,” she said.  

Inspired by Rebecka’s story? Invest now and empower more women like Rebecka so they too can lift themselves and their families out of hunger.

Meet Amina

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Amina used to live in chronic hunger. She could not see any way out of the repetitive daily struggle to survive. She had no hope for the future.

Her life involved spending days gather wood, walking for hours to collect water, and back-breaking work in the fields to try and grow enough food to feed her family. Every day was the same for Amina.

“My children didn’t go to school. Why would they need to go to school just to work in the fields?” Amina said. 

Her life changed because someone like you invested in her. She attended one of The Hunger Project’s Vision, Commitment, Action workshops where Amina learned that she had the power to change her life. For the first time, she created a vision for her future, made a commitment to herself, and learned how to take action and achieve her new visions. 

“Now I have a successful soap making business, I have learned how to grow vegetables and make nutritious meals for my family and I have a beautiful vegetable garden. My children go to school and I work with my husband in his business. Together we make joint decisions about our children and our money,” Amina said. 

Finding her vision for her future, Amina is now committed to helping others in her village achieve their own vision and end their own hunger. Her entire village is being transformed thanks to the partnerships and investments from people like you. 

There are many ways you can partner with people like Amina:

  1. Invest with a one-off or monthly gift 
  2. Share Amina’s story on social media and tag The Hunger Project Australia
  3. Read more about our work in Africa
  4. Learn about our leadership immersion programs to Africa, India and Bangladesh

 

 

 

Meet Dennis

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Before The Hunger Project came to his community, Dennis was living in severe hunger.

“Sometimes I found small jobs to do in exchange for food. Sometimes I would have to beg for food. Sometimes I would have to steal from my neighbours. Often, I would have to fall asleep without eating. I nearly died of hunger,” Dennis said. 

His life was transformed because someone like you invested in him. Dennis attended farming technique workshops set up by The Hunger Project in his community of Champiti. By applying what he learned, he tripled the yield of his family’s farm. His family now have enough food for the entire year and even have some produce left over to sell locally.

Thanks to entrepreneurship training and a microfinance loan he received from The Hunger Project, Dennis and his wife Bernadette are now the proud owners of a grocery store.

“I am transformed… My three-year-old son Cheos eats three times a day, every day. He has never slept on an empty stomach,” Dennis said.

Right now, there are people who are living in severe hunger and urgently need your support. Please make a tax-deductible donation before June 30 and partner with people like Dennis. Your investment will make sure people, families and communities can achieve their vision of ending poverty and hunger.

 

 

 

Meet Emilienne

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Emilienne is from a small village in Benin; one of the poorest countries in the world where more than half of the population live on less than $1.90 per day. Debilitating hunger is widespread.

Emilienne didn’t go to school – her parents couldn’t afford the fees and they needed her to work on the family farm. Like many of her friends, she never learned to read or write. Before The Hunger Project came to her village, life was incredibly hard for Emilienne.

“I was working on the land. My earnings weren’t enough to feed my children.” Her children were malnourished. Every day was a struggle to survive and the future looked no different. “Saving money wasn’t possible. The thought of it didn’t even cross my mind.”

When we last visited Emilienne earlier this year, she was full of joy as she proudly showed us her thriving peanut cookie business. The eight women she employs were busy grilling peanuts, treating the peanut dough and frying cookies.

Emilienne was given an opportunity to change her life through The Hunger Project’s programs in her village. She received business skills training, literacy and numeracy education as well as a microfinance loan.

“I learned how to draw up a business plan and the importance of saving.”

She used the loan and skills she learned to start the peanut cookie business. Today, business is booming.

“I’m still applying the knowledge I gained in The Hunger Project’s entrepreneurship workshops” she says.

She has increased production and invested in new machinery to improve efficiency. When she first started, Emilienne was selling a small number of peanut cookies at the local markets.

“Now, I sell cookies in large quantities to other women who sell them individually. I also process 10 bags of 105 kg of peanuts a week, from which I make 5 large baskets of peanut butter and 250 litres of peanut oil.”

 

Emilienne is also determined to help others.

“I am a volunteer for the agricultural bank and I run leadership training in my community. I like to be active in my village. My children now attend school.”

Empower women like Emilienne today. 

Empowering women with financial freedom

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Microfinancing programs provide a powerful platform from our village partners can transform their lives. They are empowered with knowledge and training about effective savings and credit practices, before they’re given access to microfinance loans that traditional banking systems usually deny those living in developing areas.

With as little as $60, we can provide one woman, who is currently living in poverty, with a microfinance loan and financial literacy training that will change her life. With the money she borrows she could start a small business, earn an income and provide for her family.

Microfinance loans are critical to ending hunger and poverty, as they result in sustainable change that benefits the whole community. Through the loans, small trade businesses are created, farming and agricultural practices improve, crop levels and storage capacity increases and a sense of economic independence evolves. As the economy improves and communities head toward self-reliance – nutritional, educational and healthcare practices also improve. Families can eat more nutritious food, illnesses are treated and prevented and children are able to attend school to become confident leaders of future generations.

The Hunger Project places women at the centre of our microfinance programs, not only because they account for 70% of the worlds’ hungry, but because when women are empowered the whole community benefits. They focus on the important issues, share their knowledge and they look for solutions to the challenges that face them.

Pictured: Emilienne from Benin. Emilienne runs a successful peanut cookie business.

Photo credit:Johannes Odé

Laurinda’s Story

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Laurinda Fabião Ngovene is a resident of Djodjo village at Chokwe Epicentre in Mozambique. She has one daughter and has been invovled with The Hunger Project since 2006. She joined The Hunger Project during her first Vision, Commitment and Action workshop in her community.

Laurinda moved into leadership roles in the community, serving as the head of the microcredit bank where she was in charge of distributing loans. She has also taken on the task of being a leader at the Epicentre’s Water and Environmental Sanitation program.  She even served as a board member of the Rural Bank in Chokwe.

Laurinda says The Hunger Project’s programs have helped her empower her community to become sustainable. She has benefited from the Agriculture Loan Revolving Fund where local farmers access seed and fertilizer loans at the start of the planting season. She uses the fund to produce corn, beans and vegetables at the association’s farm.

Using skills she learnt from The Hunger Project’s environmental sustainability workshops she reconnected to the land, discovering the importance of things she already knew deep down. At the workshop she was learnt the importance of diversifying crops, why combating erosion is important and the use of fertilisers to return nutrients to the earth.

“We grow a lot in the soil so it is important to look after our Earth,” Laurinda says.

The income from her agricultural activity has made significant improvements in her life. With the first credit she received, she bought a cow. Six years later she now has five cows that she uses for plowing in her business.

Laurinda also sees the benefits of the Epicentre’s health center that helps keep farmers healthy and thereby increases productivity. She still recognizes several challenges, such as a lack of transportation methods. As a result, she is striving to help her community acquire bicycles to facilitate carrying out mobilization activities, and a truck to carry products from the farm to market.

How Louise’s life has changed in five years

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When we first met Louise five years ago, she shared with us how The Hunger Project had given her the confidence to be a leader in her community. Thanks to a microfinance loan, she had just started a business selling fruit, corn and peanuts and had big dreams for the future.

Five years on, when we arrive in the village of Dotan, Louise is waiting for us with her women’s group. They are dancing and singing when they meet us.

“I have become much more independent. My life has expanded, with the support of The Hunger Project. Before, I mainly traded in corn, now I also have a shop with homewares and clothes.”

Louise is also a volunteer health leader for her community. If residents have concerns about their treatment at the health post, they talk to Louise. She makes sure that their concerns are addressed.

“I give advice on the importance of family planning. I help deliver polio vaccines provided by the government. I’m also active in a committee that monitors the work of the public health post.”

Louise’s incredible work doesn’t stop there. She has taught more than 80 women in her village to read and write, to ensure that everyone can become socially independent like she is.

“I teach a small group of women to read and write. I would love to help all these women to achieve what they want, to realise their dreams. In this way our community advances.”

“In five more years I hope to be living with my children in a new, bigger house… I want to expand my business even more. I am also going to buy additional farmland to farm maize with the help of seasonal workers. The income from this will be my retirement plan, for the future when I can not work anymore.”

Story from Mariken Stolk.

WITH A MICROFINANCE LOAN, GUIRÉ IS ABLE TO GROW HER RESTAURANT

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These days, Guiré Salimata finds herself busy running a successful restaurant and providing for her five children. In 2013, before Guiré began participating in the Boulkon Epicentre Microfinance Program with The Hunger Project-Burkina Faso, her restaurant was just a small shop serving rice, soup and beans in the village market. Since obtaining a 50,000 CFA franc loan and attending workshops, Guiré says she has been able to grow her business and become “a great restaurant owner in this market.”

Guiré lives in Koussago village, in the Kirsi commune in central Burkina Faso. Her husband works as a farmer while two of her children attend secondary school and three are in primary school.

With the microfinance loan, Guiré was able to purchase and cook more food to sell every day, increasing her client base and her profits. She was also able to purchase a bicycle to save time on her commute, pay for school fees, purchase school supplies and clothing for her children, and purchase medicine, condiments and cereal to improve the health and nutrition of her family.

After just one year, Guiré grew her business enough to pay back her original loan and accrued interest. She hopes to continue expanding her restaurant business and contributing to her family’s health and education.

Post courtesy of The Hunger Project Global Office.