A Tough Start

Tears ran down Sherrifatu’s cheeks as she shared her story. She is a 30 year-old Togolese woman from Lomé, West Africa. At age 15 she migrated with her mother to Ghana and settled in the Ashanti region village of Bedabour. Soon after arrival, Sherrifatu’s mother died.  She told Self-Help, “Life became unbearable when my mother died. Thankfully, my grandmother stepped in to help.” Her grandmother helped her to complete junior high school, but there wasn’t enough money for her to attend senior high school. Instead, Sherrifatu joined her grandmother selling corn dough in Bedabour, but the business was not big enough to sustain them. In 2010, Sherrifatu was introduced to the SHI Micro-credit Program.

The program recorded Sherrifatu’s business data and trained her on how to manage her business. After the training, she received her first-ever micro loan of GHC 100 in May 2010. She initially invested the money in her grandmother’s corn dough business, but the returns were not enough to support them and their other family members. In spite of this, Sherrifatu was able pay her loan on time and was recapitalized.

Sherrifatu displays her wares!

With the recapitalization, she started her own business. Sherrifatu went into buying and selling jewels. She travels from one community to another on market days to sell her wares. Fortunately, it has turned out to be very profitable. She continues to invest in her jewel business and it has grown; Sherrifatu is doing great! She is financially independent, lives in a rented apartment, and has a TV, radio, cell phone, and access to potable water. She has purchased a plot of land on which she plans to build a house. Sherrifatu said, “One of my many dreams is to build a decent house for my grandmother. It is my prayer that Self-Help extends its helping hands to other vulnerable women to bring smiles to their faces.

A Message from Self-Help

We believe in supporting girls and helping them stay in school, and if for some reason they cannot, helping them be independent and support themselves. These are the combined goals of Self-Help International’s Teen Girls Club and Micro-credit programs: supporting young girls to go higher on the academic ladder and providing startup capital to women in rural Ghana.