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Photo: Musu selling her goods on the market in Bunumbu / Sierra Leone

“These loans have helped to shape and change my life for the better, economically”, says Musu D. Swarray, a beneficiary of SEND’s and TERRA TECH’s joint micro finance project. Musu was born in Bunumbu, Kpeje West Chiefdom Kailahun District, twenty-five years ago.

Her parents David and Musu got six children from which she is the first. She attended the Methodist Secondary School and got enrolled into the Eastern Polytechnic, a university in Kenema District, in 2013. Musu wanted to become a Nurse. So she set out on a funding mission to her uncles and other relatives to help her financially. But this proved futile.

‘’I wanted to succeed in life, because I had lost my father and my mum was struggling to take care of me and my siblings’’, she remarked. Her determination to succeed forced her to move back to Bunumbu in early 2014, where her mother had harvested bags of farm rice. Musu sold two bags to gather resources to continue her education.

She made profit with the rice but still couldn't sustain herself and her other siblings. So she decided to sell ginger beer, oysters and puff-cakes (doughnuts). The young woman was brave enough to sell her items during the height of the Ebola outbreak. “People needed to eat and survive during the outbreak and I had to sell and make money”, she said. Her business made some gains, but she didn't return to the Eastern Polytechnic to continue her studies as her siblings and mum depended on her for survival.

After the Ebola Epidemic, she acquired a stall in the Bunumbu market place, where she sold pepper, maggi, salt and other assorted items in small quantities. In 2015, the young woman benefited from SEND’s micro finance loan scheme tagged by community members as “Mama dae cam” (Our mother is coming). She joined a group of 35 women and was given a loan of 400,000 Leones (about 40€) as a startup. “I was ready to take up this new challenge and work to the best of my ability to repay the loans and build up my business”, says Musu. She took loans several times, as she repaid the loans and made profits, she used parts of the profits to build a store for her mum and a much bigger table in the market.

In November 2018, she was fortunate to be part of the interviewing and selection process of the joint project of SEND and TERRA TECH. A loan, as she says, which has changed her life entirely. “I was so shocked and surprised when I found out, that I was selected to be part of the beneficiaries of this TERRA TECH loan. I said to myself, this is the time for me to explore other areas, expand my business and help other young women in my community who really want to be economically empowered, but don’t have the means to do so.” The profits have given her the opportunity to continue paying her siblings school fees, providing her mother with some start-up loan, buying bags of rice and salt for her existing store and plans to erect another structure to use as a storage for her goods in Bunumbu. She now wants to travel to Kenema, to buy enough goods, to come back and supply other members especially women.

Musu mobilized other women in the community to rehabilitate the market by carrying in sand, water and stones to cement the floor. Also the women cleaned the community (constructed wells, market places, community centers) the homes and their surroundings. Musu serves as an ambassador campaigning to other women, especially market women, on the importance of being honest and using money given as loan beneficially. In early 2018 she started assisting young girls who had dropped out of school with bags of rice to sell. But some of these girls were more focused on buying the latest fashionable wears, forgetting that they need to empower themselves financially. “I only wish they understand my story better, about how I started,” she noted with sadness on her face. However, she is planning to start giving out her personal funds, like bags of rice or other assorted items, in smaller quantities, this year to about five women or girls to assist them and observe how they put the money into good use.

When asked, if she is thinking about going to the university again and pursuing her nursing career, she just replies with a solemn look. “Right now, even though I have a supportive husband, I cannot. My mother cannot manage all of my businesses, because of her age, and my siblings are yet to complete their schooling. It would be very difficult. However, I am of service and will help anyone, who is determined, focused and promising like myself to acquire an education or set up a business.” “I am very much satisfied with my life, but I want to do more, in terms of helping other women to be self-reliant, like I am, and improve our community.” After completion of her loan payment, she would like to get another loan. This would enable her to construct a second store, so that she can begin to sell a wholesale and retail in-order to improve her community and beyond.

Musu is a member of the Kailahun Women in Governance Network (Bunumbu). She is married to Sheku Amara and is currently pregnant with her second child.

Further links:

Mama Milka - Kenya
 


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Please support our work


Accounts for donation:

Sparkasse Marburg-Biedenkopf
IBAN: DE46 5335 0000 0000 0444 40
BIC: HELADEF1MAR

Volksbank Mittelhessen
IBAN: DE58 5139 0000 0016 4090 06
BIC: VBMHDE5F


or conveniently online:

button-spende-english