‘Now I can meet my children’s needs’ – Self-Help Group gives mother-of-four stability

A mother-of-four has shared how her participation in one of Hope for Justice’s community Self-Help Groups has transformed her family’s future.

Meselech Mola, who lives in Kindo Koysha, south-west Ethiopia, joined one of the global anti-slavery charity’s Self-Help Groups (SHGs) about 18 months ago.

She said: “The Self-Help Group is helping me to fulfil my children’s needs.

“Ever since I attended the first meeting, I have been contributing to the group’s saving. In addition to my saving, I have received training from Hope for Justice which helped me to understand my potential and to enhance my skills.”

The weekly SHG gatherings comprise about 20 female members, typically from the same locality, who each contribute financially so that the group can save regularly. The money is kept communally and the purposes for its use are discussed at each meeting, including loans to members. The groups increase the communities’ autonomy without the risk of fostering a dependency culture.

While Meselech was saving, she took up a vocational training opportunity to learn how to run a small-scale business which she described as “eye-opening.” Hope for Justice also provided her with parenting education courses.

When her savings totalled 400 Ethiopian birr – the equivalent of about £9.26 – she was able to apply for a loan of 800 Birr from the SHG, which she then used to buy and sell butter at her local market to earn a living.

She said: “With this support, I have begun to fulfil my own and my children’s needs. I am hopeful that my dreams will come true in the near future.”

Selamu Yigezy, Wolaita Community Prevention Project Manager, at Hope for Justice, said: “Meselech has now become a role model in the group and has improved her economic situation which means she is able to buy school materials for her children.”

The SHG training and face-to-face discussion times have been temporarily suspended due to COVID-19. However, members are continuing with their regular saving.

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