Diana Levi is a mother of two children who attends St. Monica Church in Juba. Manna Microfinance visits local churches to encourage women to engage in small business for sustainable development.
During one of these visits, Diana registered with a Manna Microfinance group and started up a business course with them for 8 weeks. She then received 10,000 SSP as a start-up loan and was encouraged that Manna Microfinance had given her an opportunity:
‘Most organisations and institutions will only give loans to women who have business experience. If you don’t have experience, it is so difficult to get assisted but Manna Microfinance picked us while we were fresh to start business.’
Manna Microfinance focuses on assisting women in establishing businesses and pursuing economic development because in many cases, they are the sole breadwinner for their family – this is a situation that has become more and more common as the civil war has continued. Equipping and empowering women through enterprise is essential in order for poorer African countries such as South Sudan to grow and develop. Organising women into groups of lenders enables them to support one another as well as providing collateral for one another’s loans.
A recent World Economic Forum article reports that ‘Cultural and social norms are often not supportive of women’s involvement in business, and many aspiring female entrepreneurs lack access to supportive networks and mentors as well as negotiating power within their households and local communities.’ This is why the work of Manna Microfinance is so vital. Through churches, these networks and platforms are put in place so that women can have strength in numbers. As their group’s businesses become more and more profitable, their voice is heard and they become an inspiring example to the women around them.
Diana now makes a profit of 15,000 SSP (approximately £85 GBP) per month and can comfortably repay the loan while providing for her two children. Not only this but her story can also act as a catalyst for others in her community who see her success and embark on the journey of enterprise themselves.
Follow this link to donate to fund small business loans to women just like Diana.
‘He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.’
1 Thessalonians 5:10-11