Women in Africa are discovering independence, greater financial security, and skills they never knew they had, thanks to your support
Rebekah, a mother of three children, is married to a man who prefers to use the income her receives from fishing for drinking and other pleasurable activities. He does not take responsibility for providing for his children or his wife.
Sadly, this situation is not uncommon in Lake Tanganyika, one of the most socio-economically stressed areas in Zambia. Here, high rates of poverty, low rates of literacy and poor health care, are all compounded by dependency on fishing in a lake that is already over-fished.
Men not sharing income
Women and children are particularly vulnerable, not least because of the gender power imbalance in families that means that men do not share their income from fishing with their families. Added to all of this is the prevalence and fear of witchcraft, which permeates all aspects of life.
Rebekah struggled every day to find enough to food to feed her children. That was until she joined a Self-Help group in her village.
Taking back control
These self-help groups give vulnerable women the opportunity to take back some control over their lives. Meeting regularly, these women save money together, provide loans to group members, and take part in Bible studies and prayer.
Rebekah took a loan of $4 from her self-help group. With that she bought rice to sell at the market. She made a $3.50 profit. Gradually she will pay back the loan and continue to build her business. She is very happy to be a member of this group.
Training that transforms
Recently, your support enabled villagers from many different African countries to be trained in how to run self-help groups. The attendees learned skills which they can take back to their own communities to provide the same opportunities to vulnerable people that Rebekah has experienced.
As a result, villages and communities are being transformed – the potential of these groups is huge!
These are what some of the participants had to say about the training:
"I am transformed and encouraged" Andrew, headman
"I have learned that even though I cannot read or write, I can help the most vulnerable" Jelita, wife of the headman
"You came to my level and I thank you. I learned what to do. It has helped me to go back to my own village and do something there," Rachel
"I thought only the rich can do this work but I have come to discover that those who are low, can come together and achieve things," Peggy
“We forgot where there is real need. We thought that there is nothing good the most vulnerable can do. Now I know that most of my time must be spent with the most vulnerable.” Helen
“My prayer is that if we can get the self-help concept down into the ground, focus on the vulnerable and empower them, tomorrow, Africa will change,” Christopher, Field Leader, Lake Tanganyika