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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Women in Nepal working together to lift their families out of poverty

Self-help groups provide women with opportunities to expand their capabilities and begin their journey out of poverty in a sustainable, self-directed manner.

Santa Maya Bayalkoti is among a group of women in Dobato, Sindhupalchwok, Nepal who are working together to transform their lives and community.

The earthquake of 2015 destroyed all Santa Maya’s meagre possessions. But it took more than Santa Maya’s possessions, it took away opportunities for her to move beyond surviving.

Following the earthquake, Santa Maya received emergency relief supplies, as well as medicine, clothes, and a shelter for her family.

Later, Santa Maya joined the Godavari Women’s Self-Help Group as it was being formed, and participated in adult education programs, training, and a loan program managed by the group. The training, along with a small loan from the group’s loan fund, enabled Santa Maya to begin vegetable farming and goat raising. More recently, Santa Maya received training in raising poultry and buffalo. Today, she sells eggs and buffalo milk at the local market, giving her a stable, sustainable weekly income.

Santa Maya and the other women in the self-help group she joined after the earthquake are transforming their lives through their own efforts and through mutual support. Santa Maya’s life is much different than it was after the disaster. Today, her family is thriving, and she is even able to contribute to the savings fund of her self-help group each month.

Santa Maya continues to be the author of her journey out of poverty.

“Thank you for giving me the confidence and support to start something of my own”, says Santa Maya.

Self-help groups, like the Godavari Women’s Self-Help Group in Dobato, function as microloan programs, but provide much more than financial assistance. They also create a community of women who encourage, support, and inspire each other to succeed in their journey out of poverty.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Mothers working together towards self-reliance

Today, 6,300 people in Yella, southern Ethiopia have clean water to drink, right in their community:

Children are no longer becoming sick or dying because of the water they drink. Gone are the 4-hour treks mothers and children made every day in search of water, most of which was disease-laden and potentially deadly. The risk of injury mothers faced from carrying 22 kilograms of water on their backs across rocky paths, is also gone.

Yet right now, many mothers in Yella are facing a challenge that threatens to stop their journey out of poverty.

Yes, the mothers of Yella have clean water. But while clean water is crucial, it’s just the first step towards self-reliance.

Having clean water solves the problem of waterborne diseases damaging the health of the community and taking lives. But clean water alone can’t solve the challenge of mothers not having enough income to care for their families.

Mothers in communities where friends of HOPE International Development Agency have given to establish women’s self-help groups are well on their way to becoming self-reliant and free from poverty.

Meseleah, a 33-year old mother in Yella, is a wonderful example of what happens when the kind of help you can provide arrives at the right time.

Support from friends of HOPE made it possible for Meseleah and 19 of her friends and neighbours to start a women’s self-help group, facilitated by a local leader in their community.

“Being part of a women’s self-help group has really benefited me and my children,” says Meseleah.

Meseleah and her group achieved success because they learned to save money, create and manage small businesses, and most importantly, work together to solve the problems of poverty in their community. Meseleah’s group created sustainable incomes by weaving traditional clothing to sell at the local market. Recently Meseleah took a small loan from her group’s shared loan fund and bought a milk cow. The milk Meseleah sells at the local market, along with profits from the sale of weaved clothing, supports a sustainable livelihood Meseleah has created to feed, clothe, and educate her children.

There are mothers who have not yet received the help that transformed Meseleah and her family. A woman’s self-help group of 15 - 20 women costs $125 per woman. A gift of $125 covers the cost of training, support, and the establishment of a group loan fund that a mother can access to establish a small business that will generate a sustainable livelihood for her family.

Women’s self-help groups, and the mothers who participate in the groups, become self-reliant.

Each time a mother takes a modest loan to establish a small business to support her family, she pays an affordable amount of interest, along with the loan amount, back to her group, growing the loan fund. The more a mother puts into savings, the more she can borrow to expand her business and create even more income. The value women place on supporting each other and working together is evident in the loan repayment rate, which is 100% for groups previously established.

Help a mother in Ethiopia become self-reliant.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

International Development Week 2019: Together for Gender Equality

A rural community in Ethiopia celebrates the installation of a new water system.

Across Canada, this week is dedicated to international development. Since 1991, International Development Week (IDW) has sought to inspire Canadians nationwide to learn more about global issues and initiatives and become active in bringing positive change.

This year’s theme, “Together for Gender Equality”, embodies Canada’s commitment to the global effort to address gender inequality and encourages all Canadians to be change-makers in advancing gender equality in the world.

HOPE International Development Agency works to reduce poverty on a global scale. With projects throughout the world, HOPE supports the poorest of the poor to establish self-determined, self-reliant lives.

The journey to self-reliance often begins with micro loans for women to start a small-scale business, or access to clean water to stay healthy, or school education for children, or supporting women to become leaders and advocates in their communities, or trainings in new agricultural methods that help to reduce consequences of climate change and natural disasters. In most cases, people living in poverty already know what they need, but they just don’t have the means to do so.

Donors who support the work of HOPE make a huge difference in people’s lives through their generous gifts. They not only bring hope to people, but they also bring empowerment and support them in leading dignified lives.