We first met Martina Onna a decade ago. One of our first Microfinance clients, Martina was a single mother of five children, living in a mud hut, doing all she could to make ends meet. Due to the lack of economic opportunity in the area, Martina had no choice but to earn her income by buying milk in one town and reselling it in another. This work earned her just $160 per year, putting her in the near impossible position of supporting her family on less than 50 cents a day.
With a loan of just $75, Martina purchased cows that enabled her to harvest and sell her own milk. After successfully repaying her initial loan, we helped Martina expand her farm even further to include chicken and goats. Through selling eggs, milk, and meat to the local markets, Martina now earns an average of $2,000 per year. Profits from these ventures have allowed her to put food on the table, build a concrete house for her family, and send her children to school. This upcoming year, her eldest child will be graduating from Form 6 and enrolling in university — a milestone that was once unimaginable for the Onna family.
When we first launched our Microfinance Program, we provided loans to 50 clients in order to give them the economic opportunities they desperately needed to support themselves and their families. A decade later, we are empowering over 680 entrepreneurs whose incomes are supporting nearly 30% of our community of 10,000.
On June 30th, at our annual Microfinance Day celebration, we didn’t just celebrate another year of successful economic empowerment. We celebrated a decade of hard-work and an initiative that has helped women achieve independence, decreased domestic violence, provided secure housing for young families, and sent children to school and university. We celebrated an initiative whose ever-expanding positive effects ripple throughout our community.