“When my kids return from school and they have lost small school items, I buy new ones for them. I send them to the clinic when they are sick, and I am proud of it.”
Mariama* is a 40-year-old mother who lives in a village about 100 miles from the Capital city of Dakar, Senegal—Africa’s westernmost country. Her husband is a farmer, and they have many children.
One day an Inter-Senegal Mission (ISM) church planter started ministry in her village. He introduced the micro-loan program to bless the participants and also build bridges to share God’s love.
Mariama already had her own small business selling small portions of green tea and powdered sugar, as village people are fond of tea after lunch. They drink it under the shade of a tree with lots of discussion and laughter. Each portion costs 10 cents.
When Mariama joined our village accountability group and received a $50 loan, she started to sell other small products in addition to her tea. She sold sorrel leaves to make juice and monkey bread.
The plan is for participants to spend about three years in the program, totaling three cycles of borrowing, working, saving and paying back.
Three years later, Mariama runs a shop! She added fatayers (African cookies) to her products to sell. In the course of this process, she practiced compulsory savings to help develop her capital.
“This is what helped me go from one level of business to a greater one,” she said.
Mariama has also been a faithful attender of our monthly Bible storytelling meetings that goes with the program. Among the 13 participants, she was one of the nine Muslim women. After a few years of listening, she showed herself to be outstanding in that she learns the stories quickly. When I teach a story by repeating it several times, Mariama easily retells it.
Mariama is now fully involved. She raises her hand all the time to answer questions, and she answers correctly. When their third loan cycle was over and the church planter wanted to terminate the program, Mariama and a group of six ladies asked to keep it going. “You cannot image how good this project is for us,” they said.
As for Mariama, she said: “When I have needs, I don’t ask my husband like before. I cover so many things by myself. When my kids return from school and they have lost small school items, I buy new ones for them. I send them to the clinic when they are sick, and I am proud of it.”
Your support for women empowerment has changed the lives of women like Mariama. They have ideas. They are motivated and they are capable. This program helps them provide for their children and support their husbands.
Happy Mother’s Day to all those hard working moms out there!
*Name changed for security reasons.