South Sudan has had many ups and downs since its independence in 2011. A particularly vicious conflict broke out in December 2013 and spread across the country. Currently there is an ongoing power struggle between the president and former vice-president of South Sudan. The fighting has caused hundreds of thousands to flee, seen thousands die and caused the potential for a national famine. Despite this, AID Manna Microfinance (MM) groups have continued to run businesses and make loan repayments: ”This is extremely unusual in times of conflict” Louis- MM project manager. One story which demonstrates the strength and commitment of these MM groups comes from the group Holy II.
Eve, Holy II
Eve (centre, blue dress) has been a member of the Holy II Manna Microfinance (MM) group since 20011. With the loan and business training she received through her group she set up a successful hotel business. When fighting broke out in Juba in December 2013, Eve’s business got caught up in the middle and her hotel was destroyed. Looters ransacked the building and Eve was left with nothing. With her only source of income gone, Eve was unable to feed her family or repay her MM loan. ”She was desperate and broken”-Louis, AID’s MM project manager.
Seeing this desperate situation, Eve’s Manna Microfinance group leader, Safyia, rallied her group members together to help Eve pay back her loan. Though each member of Holy II group is fighting poverty themselves, they gave generously and Eve was not only able to pay back her loan but also to hire a room to open another small hotel.
This story demonstrates the effectiveness and importance of working in and through group structures, formed through local churches. Being part of a group means that each woman has support in times of need and is more able to endure difficulty. It also demonstrates the faithfulness and compassion of the MM women and their strength of character which enables them to endure the difficult circumstances in which they live.
We are thankful for the success of this project and pray that it will enable more and more women and families, across South Sudan, to find a long-term way out of poverty. To donate to Manna Microfinance please visit the donate page.