A few days ago I was sitting on the ground with a group of women who have just started working together with African Women Rising. The level of excitement was high, the prospect of change to come, of finally having a chance to get ahead and be able to plan for the future instead of constantly struggling with the immediate needs. How to feed the children today? Where to find money to treat that sick child? To see your children being sent back home from school because there is no money for school fees. These problems are still there but at least now there is hope for things to change. These women will take this chance and there is no doubt in my mind that within a year the situation for all of them will dramatically have changed.
Later that same day I met a group that has been working together with us for the last 2 years. It is truly amazing what 2 years of micro finance will do. Our program helps women organize to create loans and savings associations. Weekly savings by the women are used for loans, the more the women save the more money they have for loans. We provide a small grant to each group to help kick start access to loans. These women are planning for the future and are thinking big. They are looking at investments, how to leverage goats into oxen so they can open up more land for cultivation. All their children are in school. The perma gardens we have helped them establish ensures hunger is a problem of the past. They can have guests in their homes because now they can offer food to anyone coming to visit. They are building their social standing as well as their finances. Everyone knows how to read and write and will never again have to suffer the indignity of using their thumbprint in place of a signature. All of this in just 2 short years.
This year African Women Rising is working together with over 9,000 individuals. 6,000 households in our communities, close to 2,000 South Sudanese refugees in Palabek settlement camp and 1,150 girls in our education program. Our programs will have a direct impact on close to 50,000 people.
You are helping us create real change in these communities.
Linda and the African Women Rising Team