Microfinance brings stability after conflict

Many women in South Sudan have had to flee for their lives due to the ongoing conflict. Many have lost loved ones. Many struggle to provide the basics of food, clothing and schooling for their children.  The conflict has made it difficult for people to get training, find employment or access loans needed to start a business.

AID has recently started a microfinance project with the local church in Yei, South Sudan. This helps families trapped in poverty to develop a sustainable business and provide for their needs.

Meet Rina and Opani, two ladies who have recently joined our Yei microfinance work.

Rina is a 32-year-old widow with four children. When her husband died, she had to move back in with her parents, but even then they struggled to provide food for the children.

“I started small business selling fish, to help my children. It was difficult to get capital to start so I started with the little money I had. It didn’t turn out so well.”

AID’s microfinance staff visited the market where Rina was selling fish and she quickly joined the programme. For several weeks Rina attended meetings to receive business training and make some savings. About 8 weeks later she was given her first loan. This enabled Rina to buy more fish, develop her business and send her children to school.

“My mother still helps in feeding the children while I take the responsibility to pay school fees and buy clothes.”

Every woman who joins our microfinance projects must remain part of a microfinance group. The groups meet weekly for prayer, Bible encouragement, business training and to make loan repayments. Relationships play a big part in helping the women to flourish.

“What I enjoy most about the microfinance is the visitation of the field staff. We feel so encouraged.” – Rina.

Opani’s life has been severely disrupted by war.

“During the conflict we moved from place to place in search of hideouts. But we still stayed in Yei because it is our county and our only home. Now we are trying to catch up with life after many years of hideout in rocks and forests.”

During a period of calm, Opani got trained in beadwork by a local charity. However, she did not have enough money to start a business with her new-found skills.

“Before I started my business, it was very difficult, I could not provide three meals a day for my children or even take them to school. Mostly we just cooked vegetables growing around the home and cook them without any starch.”

She joined AID’s Yei microfinance project and was given a loan to develop her business.

“Now I can feed my children without difficultly since I started selling the beadwork items.”

Rina and Opani have been given a lifeline and we praise God that they can now feed their children. But it is only a start. When they finish repaying their first loan, they will need a second so they can develop their businesses further and provide all essentials for their family themselves. Rina still relies on her parents to help with her children’s needs, and both still lead very basic lives, wrestling to cover expenses such as medical fees. You can support women like Opani and Rina by prayer and by giving on our donate page.