How Akua Went From Sharecropper to Small Business Owner

Akua with her her “aboboyaa” or tricycle

By Elizabeth Adu-Opoku, Micro-credit Program Officer, Ghana

Akua, 50, is married to Emmanuel. The couple have four children: Charles, Isaac, Vera, and Abigail. They live in Kwame-Dwaa in the Ashanti region. Akua works as a farmer and a trader.

Previously, Akua and her family lived in Sefwi in the Western region where she was a cocoa farmer. She did not have land of her own, so she worked on other people’s land and shared the proceeds. In Ghana, this system is known as yemayenkye, or sharecropping. Since they were not earning enough to support their children, the family migrated to Kwame Dwaa to seek greener pastures.

Akua proudly displays her “aboboyaa” or tricycle

When they moved to Kwame Dwaa, Akua and Emmanuel worked in peasant farming but there was not nearly as much improvement in their lives as they expected. Since they did not have enough money to care for their children and invest in their farm, Akua was very worried. One fateful day, Self-Help International came to their village and introduced the micro-credit program. She joined the micro-credit program and received her first loan of GHC 150 in 2012, with which she started a petty trade to support her family and also invested some of the profits in the farm.

After she joined the micro-credit program, she paid back her loans on time and was able to secure several loans for different investments. She has noticed a lot of improvement in her life. She was able to enroll her eldest son, Charles, into a nursing training school. Akua expanded her petty trade from a simple table-top trade into a container store where she now sells all kinds of provisions. She built a house which is at lintel, a local term for the roofing stage of construction. She also purchased a tricycle, locally known as aboboyaa. Using the aboboyaa, she charges small fees to transport goods within her community.

Akua affectionately said, “Self Help micro-credit is really a life-saver. Had it not been for the micro-credit program which supported me financially and psychologically, I would not be where I am with my family to day.”

She is extremely thankful to her husband for being understanding and supportive in all her dealings with Self-Help. “Some men are reluctant to support their wives to stand on their own two feet. My husband is different and he is part of the reason you call me a good leader.” Akua is indeed a good leader who makes sure her fellow micro-credit group members are always on time and ready to support one another, especially in repaying their loans and sharing business ideas.