Training and Microfinance Fund a Farm and Build a Dream Home

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Askale is a 60 year-old widow and mother of four children. She lives in The Hunger Project's (THP's) Debre Libanos Epicenter in Ethiopia. After her husband died, she turned to petty trade and brewing local liqueur in order to fund the education of her children. The process of producing liqueur is a tiresome activity for anyone, let alone a mother of four children.

Seeking a change, in 2006, Askale joined THP-Ethiopia's Microfinance Program (MFP). Impressed by the Vision, Commitment and Action Workshop (VCAW) training and the interest rate applied by THP-Ethiopia, she joined THP-Ethiopia's MFP. Askale quickly completed the savings, credit and income-generating activity trainings required for the Microfinance Program. Other loan requirements included a 30 percent savings and participation in a loan collateral group.

With a loan of Birr 300 (US$18) from THP-Ethiopia's MFP, Askale was able to purchase two mother sheep which bore three lambs in a year. When the lambs grew she sold them to repay her loan, saving the two mother sheep as profit. She bought more sheep with a second round loan of Birr 600 (US$36). By the time she repaid her second loan, Askale had accumulated a savings of Birr 1,700 (US$102), a portion of which she used to accomplish her long time dream of building a house.

Askale continues to advance. With the third round loan of Birr 800 (US$48) and a portion from the previous savings, she bought a pregnant heifer. An asset guaranteed to yield profit.

Askale's success has inspired her children along with other community members. One of her daughters was deputy chair of the epicenter and is currently a cashier for the MFP. Her son is an accomplished school teacher and was awarded a prestigeous math and science teacher merit by the Prime Minister of Ethiopia and the President of Oromia Regional State.