When her husband died, it became very difficult for Fatmata to provide for her children Rashidatu, Ibrahim and Junisa. The CRC came to her aid, and made it possible for her to keep the children in school. Fatmata attended the CRC's microfinance training, and upon graduation received a small loan to start a sewing business. With the skills she learned from the program, Fatmata was able to pay back her loan and buy materials to help grow her business. She now sells material to other tailors and mentors CRC families who are new to microfinance.
"This is how my children and I are surviving," Fatmata says, proudly displaying a beautiful blouse she created. "We will always be grateful to the CRC and the sponsors. I will never forget the impact they are making in my children's lives."
This month, the Child Rescue Centre staff completed microfinance training for a third group of CRC parents. Thirty-two men and women participated in the 10 week training. The 17 session training covered saving, money management, creating and maintaining a budget, financial planning, responsible borrowing, loan management, and other topics. At the end of the training, the staff conducted a capstone project and review to ascertain the participants' learning.
Representatives of three local banks were invited to help facilitate the training. The bank representatives talked to the participants about their services and instructed them how to open an account. The training especially stressed the importance of learning how to save money to prepare for emergencies and unexpected expenses.
On September 17, a festive celebration was held for the new graduates and their families. Local government representatives attended and spoke encouragement to the graduates. Micro loans were distributed to the graduates to start their new businesses. We look forward to hearing their success stories!
Microfinance graduates trained to mentor other CRC parents; new parents enrolled in microfinance program
The CRC recently began training graduates of the Microfinance Program to mentor other parents, so that they can learn microfinance skills to help their families become financially stable. For the first training, the CRC chose eight parents who have demonstrated success in their microfinance businesses since graduating the program. To become mentors, they were coached on the roles and responsibilities of a mentor, and how they can support the process of training new participants. Eight CRC parents completed the training and will begin mentoring other parents: Gbessay Sesay, Saffiatu Dakowa, Samuel James, Catherine Ngaliwa, Baindu Sumbu, Fatmata Mattia, Janet Turay, and Fatmata J. Amara. The new mentors will receive a second microfinance loan as a reward for faithfully paying back their first loan on time.
On June 21st, a meeting was held for a new group of 25 CRC parents who would like to enroll in the Microfinance Program and learn strategies for improving their financial stability so they can take better care of their children. Victor Kanu, lead facilitator of the Family Strengthening Program, informed the parents that the training will cover seventeen topics that will change their household and family lifestyle, including money management, budgeting, planning, and saving. During the initial meeting, the participants were given the task of developing business plans for three different potential businesses. These plans will be used throughout the training, and the CRC staff and mentors will consult with the parents at the end of the training to help them choose the best business plan. The actual training will launch July 28th, and cover two topics per meeting. At the conclusion of the training, there will be a certification ceremony and a loan distribution for the amount of five hundred thousand leones to each graduate (approximately $56.)
Sponsor A Child Assistant Coordinator Henry Kebbie, who assisted with the training, thanked the participants for coming to the meeting, noting that this program is not for the parents, but rather for their children. He encouraged the parents to look for businesses that will yield a greater profit, and advised them to utilize the money well so that they can provide food, transportation, and other necessary items for their children to live happy and comfortable lives. The CRC staff are excited and encouraged to see the impact these trainings are having in the lives of CRC families and their communities.
Aminata Conteh is the caregiver of two children enrolled in CRC programs, Samuel and Abubakarr. Aminata qualified for the CRC’s microfinance training program through her ongoing commitment to the CRC and her family’s extreme financial vulnerability. She completed the training, was presented with a certificate and given a small loan to launch or revive a business.
Aminata did well in the microfinance training, and has been able to realize her potential upon graduating, receiving her microloan and setting up her small business. She discovered that with the lessons she’d learned, she could be a good businesswoman, make a profit, save for emergency purposes and better support her children.
Members of the CRC staff recently visited her at her market stall to check on the progress of her business and microloan repayment. Aminata shared that prior to her participation in the microfinance training, her small business had failed as a result of poor management, and lack of understanding of simple budgeting skills. Discouraged, she had given up the business, and sat at home for some time, unsure of how to find success.
The class has taught Aminata how to manage her money much better, and now she is able to budget her money, save, and plan for the future to both grow her business and eventually gain her financial independence. With the small loan of approximately $90, she reestablished her market business, and is now making and even saving money. “Since I have launched my business again, I am doing well as a result of the training, “ Aminata says.
Baindu Simbo is a single mother with four children, three of whom are enrolled as Child Rescue Centre students. Baindu has a disability that has made it difficult to care for her family, but was eager to join the microfinance program to learn business and budgeting skills.
"I really enjoy working with Baindu Simbo," CRC Case Manager Victor Kanu says. "During the training and the followup monitoring visits, she always gives honest information. I am proud of her for paying her loan and sustaining her business."
Baindu has already repaid her initial loan and interest, and her business is doing well. Through her success in the microfinance program, Baindu has gained confidence, and her community admires her for her determination and achievement.
“I give thanks to the CRC for supporting me to launch my business," Baindu shared. "I find pleasure in producing my Africana soap,” she says with pride.
Case manager Victor Kanu visited Baindu at home, where she demonstrated her soap making process. "I find pleasure in producing my African soap," Baindu says.