Mrs. Hannah Fofanah is one of twenty-eight participants in the initial microfinance class, launched in February of 2017. As the grandmother and caregiver of Child Rescue Centre student Lucy Kamara, Hannah was invited to enroll in the first class, which was offered to 30 parents and caregivers who were struggling to make ends meet. The microfinance program was designed to help vulnerable families acquire the tools they need to become financially stable.
Many of the CRC students are in the care of grandparents or other family members, sometimes because they've lost their parents, and sometimes because they have been removed from the home by Sierra Leone social services.
Hannah cares for seven additional grandchildren, supporting them all by selling firewood, charcoal, and now handmade soap. Her granddaughter Lucy attends UMC Njagboima, where she is in Junior Secondary Class 2.
After attending weekly classes at the CRC to learn about saving, budgeting and simple business management, Hannah reflected that she found it “very useful to be part of these classes...my little business used to dwindle since I was not saving, except I borrowed money from my colleague or from close family relatives to make up for my business again. But from the time I started attending classes I now know how to save some profit and never interfere with my capital.”
Hannah’s family noticed the change almost immediately. “My grandchildren feel very happy for such opportunity and even help me with notes sometimes. I don’t have a husband anymore and even though I am getting old it is still important to learn and I am sure this will be put into practice to help me maintain my family.”
Since receiving her small loan of approximately $70 in August, Hannah shared "having a loan I decided to expand my business... my whole family is happy for the loan." Hannah is also proud to report that all 8 of her grandchildren are attending school.
The CRC staff recently visited Hannah at her place of business. Hannah has been steadily paying her loan payments since last fall, though recently that has been a struggle. Reports of incidents of violence related to the recent presidential election have meant that many people are not moving from their homes in order to remain safe, but she is hopeful to get back on track after the run-off scheduled for Saturday, March 31st.