Loans to date: 548
January 2018: A very encouraging start to the new year! The news from Kenya is that all the new businesses formed in 2017 are doing well. Through our partner organisation in Kisumu, OLPS, Angelina has already identified 50 more ladies in need, who would benefit from business training and start up funding this year. She hopes to train and advance small loans to at least 75 in total. So it will be another very busy year!
Meanwhile., in the UK, we have received fantastic support, for which we are very grateful. Alscot Estate, Warwickshire, and Java and Jazz, East Sussex, have joined our group of business supporters. St Gregory's Catholic Primary School, Stratford upon Avon, donated from their Christmas charity collection, and Alcester Grammar School held a casual wear day to raise funds for Just Small Change. Many kind individual donations also arrived over the Christmas period.
These generous donations will provide funds for the training and start up capital of about 17 of the 50 ladies whom Angelina has already identified for training in 2018. So we are now fundraising for the rest, and hoping to proceed with training in April this year. All donations welcome to help our ladies get started on their new ventures! If you are able to help, please use the Virgin button on the left or see our 'How you can help' page. Thank you.
Round up of 2017:
In March, Angelina trained 25 new clients, advancing loans to them all in April. In May we made a short trip to our partners in Kisumu, where we met 29 clients, visited their businesses and discussed with them their challenges, hopes and plans for the future. We are immensely encouraged by the improvements in income, nutrition and housing which these ladies had achieved through running their businesses. Their self esteem had grown; they now felt they had a voice in the community. It was great to meet Angelina, the project coordinator for the first time, and to see her at work. Shortly we will be publishing an impact report detailing all the outcomes of our visit, which was funded privately by the trustees.
In June and July 2017, Angelina ran two more 5 day business training courses. Here are the participants, with their training certificates.
By November 2017, Angelina had advanced start up loans to all these ladies, and the latest news (Jan 18) is that all of them are doing well.
MICROFINANCE - how it works
We believe that microfinance is a sustainable means of tackling poverty, which leads to lasting personal and economic development. Business training, small loans and ongoing mentoring empower our clients to build businesses, support their families and transform their communities. As loans are repaid, the capital becomes available to re-lend to another aspiring entrepreneur.
WHY WE ARE DIFFERENT
LOW COST: Working with UK volunteers and local partner charities in the field keeps our costs to an absolute minimum, ensuring your donation has maximum impact in transforming lives in developing countries.
DIRECT LINK: Our close links with local partners means we can provide feedback to our UK donors on the progress of businesses & improvement in the lives of people.
BUSINESS TRAINING AND SUPPORT
Most of our clients have very little prior experience of handling money or of business. We offer training and business support to enable them to gain the skills needed to repay a loan and run a successful business. A five day training course covers topics such as costing and pricing, working as a group, managing their money and understanding their rights and responsibilities. This training is delivered through role plays and games so that it is accessible to women with no formal education. Ongoing mentoring is provided once the business is up and running too, via regular visits from Angelina, the programme coordinator.
Consisting of 5-10 entrepreneurs from the same area, trust groups meet regularly to discuss the progress of their businesses and receive training. By exchanging ideas and encouraging each other, loan repayment rates are increased. Lasting and supportive relationships are formed in these groups - one has even organized a monthly kitchen utensil merry-go round to share their kitchen equipment.
The meetings are also used as an opportunity for additional training on topics relevant to the social issues facing the group eg HIV prevention or health education.
LOCAL FIELD PARTNERS
We work through local field partners who are already closely involved with marginalized communities. This ensures your donation reaches the most needy as efficiently as possible.
VISION AND MOTIVATION
We believe that with suitable training and support, microfinance has the power to unlock the personal and economic potential of the poorest communities, allowing them the opportunity to achieve a life free from poverty, with dignity and purpose.
As Christians, we are responding to Jesus Christ’s call to love and serve the poor. We serve all people regardless of race, faith, ethnicity and gender.
WHERE WE WORK
Despite growth resulting from gold production and tourism, Tanzania remains one of the most impoverished countries in the world. Approximately 36 percent of Tanzanians live below the poverty line. Yet the country’s economic potential is unmistakable.
One out of every three Tanzanians is self-employed, indicating a high level of microenterprise activity. Only 20 percent of the population, however, has access to a formal bank within an hour’s walking distance of their home.
Kenya is among the world’s 30 poorest countries and is home to one of the world’s harshest HIV and AIDS epidemics. More than a half of the country’s population lives below the poverty line, on less that one US dollar a day. With an estimated population of 436,000, Kisumu has one of Kenya’s highest poverty levels and worst set of health indicators. Approximately 22-25% of the population is HIV positive.