Women around the world have the worst jobs. In Sierra Leone, women work 8 hours a day and make ten cents an hour breaking stones into gravel. Most women are widows with children and the wages they earn barely give them and their children enough to survive day to day.
Stone breaking is a dangerous way to earn a living. Many women are often injured and suffer from muscle pain every day because of the demanding work. The women report that they spend most of their hard-earned money on pain medication. And not only are the women at risk, but their children also suffer. Since the women do not have people to care for their young children, they must bring them to the site where they break stone.
After seeing how the women were suffering and had no one to help them, three leaders, Masire, Aminata, and Adamsay, wanted to do something to change the situation. They dreamed of creating small business training and microfinance projects to bring hope and greater income security to the women. After meeting with the leaders and talking to the women stone breakers, SowHope funded three microfinance projects among the group, providing opportunities to more than 300 women in the form of microfinance groups to help them start meaningful business projects to achieve economic success.
The impact is great as the women have been able to stop stone breaking and begin safer income-generating activities like roadside food vending, petty trading, farming, and opening beauty salons. This has enabled them to earn enough to feed their children every day and send their children to school instead of to the market to sell goods. Also, through this project, women are receiving training each week on how to run successful businesses and save money.
Our partners dream of reaching many more women from this initial groups’ loan repayment. With your help, these dreams can become reality.