Maria’s Story: From Humiliation to Dignity
Written by Plant With Purpose on June 19, 2014 in General
We’re often told that hard work pays off. In a country with little opportunity, no matter how hard you work, financial stability is difficult to come by. Getting ahead is almost impossible.
In Burundi, more than 90 percent of the population is dependent on agriculture as a source of income, yet access to basic farming necessities like land and healthy seeds is limited. Burundi’s gross national income per capita is $240 compared to $52,340 GNI per capita for the U.S. Yet in the face of these dire conditions, Plant With Purpose is seeing dramatic transformation. Through access to microfinance and farming training, families start to earn more income, change their circumstances, and even thrive.
Maria Hamanimara, who lives in the Rutana Province of Burundi, experienced the humiliation of having her son sent home from school because she could not pay the school fees. “I found a way to borrow money from a family member to keep him in school, but I didn’t have any way of repaying that loan,” she remembers. “Then someone invited me to join a savings group.”
Through the Plant With Purpose Village Savings and Loan Association, Maria received access to loans. She had a safe place to save her money and it even earned interest. After paying her children’s school fees, Maria decided to take out a loan to establish her own business of selling handicrafts and growing cassava.
Maria recalls her surprise when, at the end of the savings cycle, she had saved 96,000 Burundi Francs ($60 USD). With that money, “I was able to repay both loans, pay the school fees for my children, and I had some left over to invest in the next savings cycle.”
Getting ahead may be difficult in a nation like Burundi, but innovative mothers like Maria are making the most of their resources. All of her children are currently enrolled in school. Not only is Maria building financial stability in the present, she’s giving her kids the best gift of all: education and opportunity for the future. And that’s hard work paying off.
If you’d like to support mothers like Maria in their fight for a better way of life, consider sponsoring a village.