Tuesday, October 17, 2017

"I am writing to you because you are people who care about and help others. Some of you are active members of churches, feminist groups, social groups..." ............. kAmelia Drummund, USA

 

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December 2007 - Vol 1


2007 was our second year of operation in Dakar, Senegal and was a year of steady growth for us as the Anti-Poverty Initiative; we incorporated 6 new associations into our program, each with 25 women. We are now working with a total of 18 associations, twice as many as we started with in January of 2006. These 6 new groups successfully completed our micro-enterprise training program and the feedback from these women has been overwhelmingly positive. We look forward to updating you on their progress throughout the year.
We were lucky to receive a wonderful visitor here in Dakar last November. Mrs. Jerry White arrived from Vero Beach, Florida representing her church. Mrs. White was able to spend time visiting API groups in HLM Grand Yoff, a large neighborhood in Dakar, as well as a group known as ďThe Women of Ouakam Road,Ē who sell vegetables. The visit was a great demonstration of APIís work here, and the women were also excited to speak with Mrs. White and share their experiences with her. In addition to her words of encouragement, Mrs. White presented checks on behalf of her church and Mrs. Ethel Howe to API to help support our work in Dakar. For that we are truly grateful.
As we look toward the New Year, our hope is that we continue to expand our work in Senegal with the help and support of our friends and family.

One Woman at a Time: How API Changes Lives

Seynabou Gueye, a divorced mother of two, lives in Patte díOie, a bustling neighborhood on the outskirts of Dakar. Since her divorce many years ago, life was a challenge for her. In addition to her lack of a formal education, Seynabou was not equipped with the financial skills needed to take on the responsibilities as head of her household. Providing basic needs, like food, and paying her childrenís school fees was next to impossible with her meager income earned through selling cosmetics.
One year ago, Seynabou began to take the steps that would drastically improve her situation. Seynabou and 24 other women, each one struggling, formed an association. As a group, they elected to join APIís micro-finance program. The first step for these women was to participate in micro-enterprise training. It is here where they learned the skills needed to successfully operate their own businesses, including: marketing, record keeping, profit and loss calculations, and learning to manage household and business expenses separately. After completing the training, Seynabou felt that she had the practical knowledge to better manage her own business.
The loans from APIís micro-credit program helped Seynabou start a vegetable preservation business out of her home. With her loan money, she purchased raw materials, in this case vegetables like carrots and tomatoes, at a market in Derkle, another neighborhood on the edge of the city. She also began to purchase large quantities of hibiscus, the flower used to produce bissap, a popular Senegalese drink, at a discount. The opportunity to buy larger quantities at a lower price awarded Seynabou greater profits for her business. Now, her monthly income has doubled from $100 to $200. With her increased income, Seynabou can afford to pay her childrenís school fees. Her 14 year-old son is currently in a junior level secondary school and her 18 year-old daughter is currently training to be a seamstress.
Seynabou is now making plans for her future. API requires that each woman save a little money each week as part of an asset building initiative. Seynabou has continued to save throughout the year, and is ready to expand her business further. Currently, she is working to open a restaurant near Dakarís airport. Seynabou truly believes that APIís program has ďvery positively changed my situation.Ē She is no longer a woman struggling to get by, but is rather, a successful business woman who is able to provide for her family and open new doors of opportunity for herself.

Expanding Opportunities for Women

You may be aware that micro-finance and micro-credit organizations are changing the lives of some of the worldís poorest citizens by providing small loans with low-interest rates. These loans help provide capital to those who would not be able to generate it otherwise. In most cases, a modest amount allows participants to start their own successful income-generating operations.What sets the Anti-Poverty Initiative (API) apart in the world is that we do not just provide loans and walk away. APIís program is a total investment in the women that participate as part of an association. Each association, made up of at least 25 women, goes through a small-business training program to provide the information they need to operate their own businesses. Everyone learns skills like profit and loss calculations or the basics of record keeping, so that everyone is prepared to handle the responsibilities of running a business. Additionally, each of the associations internally elects officials including a president, secretary, and treasurer. API works with those elected to provide them with management training with an emphasis on transparency, honesty, and the importance of participation to strengthen the associations. The women put these skills to work at their weekly association meetings; these meetings also provide a social outlet for all the women. API also incorporates a mandatory weekly savings initiative for all participants so they can begin to grow their own assets. Sitting with the women participating in APIís micro-finance program, one will be struck by their pride. Each of these women has been able to achieve something real and tangible for themselves and for the benefit of their families. Some have started businesses, like a fruit stand or tie dying operation, for the first time. Others have been able to expand existing businesses and greatly increase their commercial success. No matter where they started, each woman is that much more secure, independent, and successful with the support of API.The stories we hear from our participants illustrate how important this work is in improving the lives of these women and their families. Women like Seynabou Marena can now make a difference for their families:I worked as a paid helper at a clothes-making shop (before API). For 4 months I could not pay my house rent and meet my financial obligationsÖ
With loans from API, I started my own clothes making and fruit juice businesses. My businesses are doing well. I have now employed a young man to sell my fruit juices. Participating in APIís program provides me a market for my products and access to APIís loans is easy. My familyís economic conditions have greatly improved.The challenge ahead is to continue to expand APIís program, incorporating more women in Dakar and to begin working with women in other areas of Senegal. Our goal for 2008 is to increase the number of members to over 500.
 
Of course, this number is a fraction of the total number of those affected by APIís work. Each woman in the program is helping to support a network of people: husbands, children, aunts, uncles, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and neighbors. We are hoping that today you can support APIís work with a donation so we can continue to reach out to these women as they continue to improve their lives and the lives of those closest to them. The truth is that a that a modest amount can do so much.
$25 can purchase training materials for 50 women $70 can help a woman purchase materials to start a breakfast restaurant $150 will put a woman with tie-dying skills in business $200 can buy one sewing machine for a tailor shop $300 can help a woman start a backyard chicken farm
How You Can Help

Donations by check can be mailed to: Anti Poverty Initiative 10444 Kensington Way Indianapolis, IN. 46234 USA
We can also accept donations online via PayPal.

Please see the donations page on our Website: www.antipovertyinitiative.org
We appreciate all your help as we work to reduce poverty in Senegal.
About Our OrganizationÖ
The Anti-Poverty Initiative is committed to reducing poverty amongst women in Senegal through micro-enterprise training, micro-loans and savings initiatives. It is through these initiatives that we also seek to empower women and promote financial self-reliance.
 
 

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