When you first step out of Juba International Airport you are met by two half-finished office blocks. Walking a little further down the street you notice solar-powered street and traffic lights and then that there are no power panels to make them work. Going into the centre you realise that what seems like every 2 in 5 shops, are closed. Shells of buildings around the city reflect the great hope of independence, all too quickly followed by the strangling effect of conflict which erupted in 2013 and worsened in July 2016. This closure of almost all small businesses has led to a rise in the number of vulnerable families across the city, and contributed to food shortages.
In God’s grace, Manna Microfinance (MM) has been able to continue enabling women through this turbulent time. Tabitha Muthui says:
“Manna Microfinance women have been able to put up a complete hut of resilience; from the staff to the clients and the entire management.”
Following the conflict in 2016, MM women have come up with resourceful ways to continue running businesses and fight the rising inflation rates. They have begun to rely more on local resources, rather than imported goods, and to develop skills-based businesses.
Lillia (left) did a tailoring course offered by the Catholic Church in 2014 and, with a $50 loan from MM, she was able to begin a tailoring business and keep her family full and healthy.
Instead of buying and selling goods, Sarah (right) has set up a tea business in the capital.
For the women of Manna Microfinance, their business is certainly unfinished! Please pray for them and for an end to conflict across the nation so that life can flourish in South Sudan.