African Relief Ministries
|The Micro-finance groups have shown to be one of the single best ways in which to help the many destitute widows returning to Southern Sudan from the refugee camps in the surrounding countries. These groups offer the opportunity to help the widows not only build a business for themselves, but gives them the tools help support their families on a long term basis.
Each business group consists of a group coordinator, president and treasurer/secretary and 30 widows. The widows selected are to work together as a group not only for business purposes, but also for support and commitment to each other. Before the group is actually set up, training is conducted by our team to help the women understand the expectations and functions of the micro-finance group and organization. Then each woman is given an installment of approximately $100 to 125 US dollars, or 250 Sudanese pounds to start their business. The funds to set up the bank are a gift, then each woman is given her portion as their initial installment to begin the working widow’s group process.
WIDOWS' BUSINESS GROUP OPERATION:
Each group is operated and overseen by people living in Southern Sudan and progress reports are communicated back to African Relief Ministries for support, encouragement and prayer. The Group Coordinator oversees the set-up, training and overall work of the business group. The President of the group oversees the day-to-day operations, as well as gathering the women together for support and fellowship. The Treasurer/Secretary is responsible for the record/payment keeping and security of funds as they are paid back to the working widows' group.
After the first payment cycle is completed, the widows may take out a second installment for the continuation of their businesses. At the second cycle, more women may also be brought into the business group. Thus the widows' group grows and more widows are helped within the communities. The cycle then continues until the widows' businesses are no longer dependent upon the group and are self-sustaining. There is generally a 97% or higher payback rate within these micro-finance business groups.
During the training, the women are asked to break up into small groups to brainstorm about business ideas as well as how to coordinate their businesses together to the benefit and growth of widows' group. This promotes group unity and the widows bond together. This gives the widows and their families an opportunity for new life, not only for today, but for future generations as well.