‘The economy is in turmoil. Businesses are closing, causing local people to lack daily bread. It’s estimated that 3.9 million people are in dire need of food and support.”
A report from Tabitha, our communications and fundraising manger in South Sudan. The ongoing conflict in South Sudan is taking its toll on the country’s economy for a number of reasons. For one, the country is producing less oil as rebels have taken over the oil fields and South Sudan used to get most of it’s revenue from oil production. There has also been a rapid decrease in the value of the South Sudanese Pound (SSP) and an increase on taxes for roadside traders.
Despite these dark economic times, the businesses of the ladies involved in our Manna Microfinance manage to carry on. We talked to a few of them to find out how they’ve been affected by the economic crisis and what difference the project has made.
Ester tells us that, with the devaluation of the South Sudanese currency, she sometimes struggles to buy produce for her market stall. However because she has been part of Manna Microfinance for a while, and has been steadily growing her business, she is already known by the suppliers. So even if she doesn’t have enough money, the suppliers give her some produce and allow her to repay them once she has sold it. This would not be possible without Manna Microfinance. She said that with regards to her family: “there is nothing lacking now.”
“When my shop was looted in Pibor in November 2014, just three months after my third loan of 3,000 SSP, I went through a great struggle. My group agreed to support me and pay my overdue loan so that we as a group will be able to qualify for another loan. The loan which received enabled me to start afresh in Pibor. The group has been very supportive of each other. We work together and share with each other on business trends in Juba, South Sudan, we share experience and that is how we progress with the help of Manna Microfinance.”
“We have increased our capital and able to carry on the business in spite of heavy inflation and instability in the country.
What I desperately needed was extra money to increase my stock. I was attached to Lemarita microfinance group, through my church, and I started saving with my group. Our first loan was 1,000SSP per person. The loan helped me to increase my produce, besides tamia (a type of bread made with vegetables), I started selling oranges and apples, bread and fried cassava. As a result, my business profits increased. God blessed me to use the profits to buy a piece of land. Today I have a home of my own and my children have a home.”