Sharing Success Stories

Posted on Jul 12, 2017

Kenya

Kidundu Friends Church Women Group (KFCWG) discovered that the key to succeeding in business is training. They applied to RSWR in the fall of 2014 but were not chosen because they did not have enough knowledge to handle a RSWR grant effectively. Instead of giving up, they asked the RSWR Field Representative, Samson Ababu, to train them in how to meet RSWR requirements. They also joined a Kenyan government program offering business training to youth and women. They reapplied to RSWR in the fall of 2015 and received a grant!

In their final report, KFCWG reports that they all now have thriving businesses; their monthly incomes have doubled or tripled, and in some cases, quadrupled.  Their school-going children can now afford lunch and school uniforms. Here are the stories of two individuals in the group:

Margaret (left) and her family were displaced from their home in Njoro during the post-election violence in 2008 and were unable to return. When they came to the village, Margaret joined the Friends Church and Kidundu women’s group. With encouragement from other members, she started a dried fish business with a loan from the RSWR grant. The business is now thriving, and she is able to support her husband and four children. Rabecca (right) is a single mother of one girl. She left her husband because of his bad behavior. The women in her church group, who have been very supportive of her, helped her start a dried fish business. The RSWR grant enabled her to expand her business, and she has already repaid the loan. Her daughter has re-enrolled in school. Today, Rabecca and Margaret work together and support each other in the dried fish business and are also prayer partners.

Sierra Leone

Gbenthas Women in Progress received an RSWR grant in June 2016. The group is located in a village that was destroyed by the civil war. The inhabitants of the village experienced immense amounts of violence, and almost all of the houses were looted and burned down. Fifteen years after the end of the war, the community was still struggling with poverty and hopelessness. The group came together to try to rebuild the community. Here is the story of one beneficiary:

Adamsay is thirty-two and is the mother of four boys, three of whom are school-aged. Her husband works as a farm laborer. She used to be involved in backyard gardening, but found she couldn’t make enough for her family to eat three times a day. She joined the Gbenthas group in 2015 at the invitation of the community women. Since receiving the RSWR grant in 2016, her life has changed significantly. She now grows crops and buys palm oil from other villages for resale. She is able to take good care of her children and help her husband support the family.

India

Sharon Society of Pondicherry (SSP) is a group that works with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The NGO runs a school for intellectually disabled children, and has also formed a self-help group for the children’s mothers, many of whom were living in poverty. SSP supported the mothers to start income-generating activities that they could do from their homes so they wouldn’t have to leave their children while they worked. The mothers collectively decided to take up floor mat production. This was a particularly smart choice, because there are many textile mills in the area and they use the waste from the mills to make the mats. The project has been very successful.  All 24 of the initial beneficiaries have repaid their loans in full, and 40 new women have received loans from the repaid funds. In addition, the women have been able to make repairs to their homes, pay off old loans to money lenders, and buy nutritious food for their children. Most importantly, they now have a business they can carry out without impeding caring for their children.