Learning the True Meaning of "Comfort" with THP-Ghana
Thirty-five-year-old Miss Comfort Abena Aniniwa joined the The Hunger Project (THP)-Ghana's Microfinance Program three years ago. Before involvement with THP-Ghana, her only income came from small-scale farming: maize, cassava and vegetable cultivation on a two-acre piece of land. However, a THP Vision, Commitment and Action Workshop (VCAW) in 2004, at the Atuobikrom Epicenter, motivated her to experiment with petty trade in order to supplement her subsistence farming.
She took out an initial loan of GH¢500 (US$352) and used it to start some table-top commerce, selling bread and other basic provisions like sugar, milk and assorted beverages. Now, Comfort has gone through four loan cycles.
Miss Aniniwa's significant initial profit after only three weeks encouraged her to concentrate more effort on her petty trade. By the end of 2004, she was able to reinvest a profit of GH¢120 (US$85) back into her business. A second loan helped her to repeat her success. Within two years her profits totaled GH¢305 (US$215).
Throughout this period, products from her farm helped her to cut down her household costs. Thanks to hard work, training in basic entrepreneurship and continual encouragement from her local credit union, she needed to spend only a small amount on fish and other basics.
The joy of no longer relying solely on farming for an often meager and erratic income ignited a new spirit within Miss Aniniwa. For the first time in her life, she had hope that in four years, she could be selling all kinds of assorted products in a kiosk of her own!
Two more loans increased Miss Aniniwa's working capital to GH¢600 (US$422), a remarkable achievement that makes her very proud. Importantly, the growth in her petty trade and farming has enabled her two children to attend elementary and junior high schools.
Today, Comfort has a savings account of GH¢150 (US$105). In the near future, she plans to acquire two market stalls where she can selling assorted provisions and frozen fish.