Now, Sayeed bakes 50 loaves of bread a day
Access to credit: Due to her situation, Sayeed was invited to participate when Mission East, in cooperation with local village councils, organized training for kitchen gardening. "I learned a lot about farming, sales and a healthy diet for children," Sayeed says. Later, Mission East received permission to help the women in the village to start self-help groups. The group members learn how to save up money together, and take loans from the money collected. The poor rarely have access to loans from a bank, because they cannot provide security. Furthermore because there are no banks in the villages.
Sayeed made a plan
After yet another training, this time in keeping chickens, Sayeed was able to earn some money by selling eggs. It gave her the courage to invest in a business that would get her, and her children, out of poverty. She borrowed 300 afghani, (approximately 6 USD) to buy flour and other baking materials, and started to bake bread, which her son then sold at the market. With the profits from selling bread, Sayeed could repay the loan. Now, she has borrowed twice the amount, and invested in more materials. "Now, I bake every day, and send my son to the market with 50 loaves of bread. I earn 300 Afghani a day, and it's enough to cover our needs, and to repay the loan. My life has changed. Now, I no longer need to worry about how to make money to feed my children, and I can also buy school supplies for them. We lead a good life," says Sayeed.
Self-help groups in Afghanistan
Self-help groups consist of about 20 women, who save up together and then borrow money from the common fund. This photo is from another self-help group than Sayeed’s.
Together with local Afghan women, Mission East has initiated 54 self-help groups. Each group consists of about 20 women and each woman typically saves up to 40 afghani a month, the equivalent of 0,90 USD. After a couple of years when the group has become more mature and the common savings have grown to a reasonable size, many of the women take loans for small businesses.