Joyce Awa Mavolo told her story with a pen in her hand, symbolic of her hopes for the future. The 30-year-old mother of six children owns a shop where she sells a variety of goods and handicrafts in Southern Sudan. For many years Joyce struggled to provide for her young family and keep them fed and clothed.
Things started to improve when Joyce joined a World Concern-sponsored women’s savings group. These groups of 15 to 25 women meet weekly, save $1 to $2 each week, then take turns loaning their collective savings out to individual members. This form of finance has virtually no overhead cost, providing a cheap form of credit to its members.
Joyce’s group provides her a safe place to store her money and access to small amounts of cash that she can use to buy items for her business in bulk, reducing her costs. It also saves her from having to make daily trips to suppliers, which for many women could take half the workday.
The opportunity has helped Joyce become more profitable in her business and be able to provide essential resources for her children. She can now make tuition payments for her oldest son who has recently started school.
“I like our group because the women respect each other. We help each other and we share activities and dream together,” said Joyce.
“I am still young, and all my life I had the desire to learn how to read and write. I watched others attend school, but I was not allowed to attend school while growing up because I was the only daughter and my family needed my help at home and in the fields,” recalled Joyce. “When I was alone I would pretend that I could write. I would hold a blade of grass between my fingers, and act as though I was writing with a pen in my hand. Now, I will be the first to enroll for adult literacy classes with World Concern.’’
To learn more about how World Concern helps women in business, please visit www.worldconcern.or/ignite.