Hannah Dares to Dream in the Microcredit Program

By Lydia Adomako – Micro-Credit Program Officer

Hannah in front of her new home.

For Hannah, a 48-year-old mother of seven from Bedaabour, Ghana, what started as a dream of alleviating hunger for her family grew to be a bigger dream for her family of nine. Hannah has been a partner of Self-Help International’s Microcredit Program for 11 years, making her a bit of a pioneer of the program in her community.

Prior to joining the program, Hannah was a subsistence farmer working the family land with her husband. Because of her family’s size, feeding them was a daily struggle until she joined the microcredit program.

“We had too many kids to handle at one time and they were very close in age, making it almost impossible to do any proper farming,” Hannah said. “Feeding them was a challenge, so enrolling them in school wasn’t even a priority; they needed to survive before schooling.”

Through Self-Help, Hannah had renewed hope to improve the living conditions for her family.

“One day, I heard about this organization helping rural women with loans to work and support their families’ incomes,” Hannah said. “I grasped at the opportunity with all my strength, resolute and determined to make it work no matter what.”

“I started petty trading in the neighboring communities in the morning, and in the late afternoon, I would join my husband on the farm. The kids were still young, so it was very difficult at first,” Hannah said.

“Gradually, things picked up. We could feed the family without so much difficulty thanks to the income the petty trading was generating,” Hannah said. “It wasn’t much, but it was way better than before. We decided to enroll the kids in school to give me more time and freedom to continue trading.”

When Hannah first enrolled in the microcredit program in 2010, she had five kids. She’s given birth to two more children since she joined the program.

“I should have stopped with the five kids, but I didn’t have any information on family planning and birth spacing,” Hannah said. “So, I had two more kids until Self-Help brought us a nurse to educate us about family planning.”

“It was an instant decision for me to stop having any more kids. I became free to concentrate on my business,” Hannah said. “Now, all seven of my kids have access to an education. My eldest child has completed university and is working, and my second oldest one is preparing for her final exams in Senior High School – something I never thought possible but Self-Help helped me make it a possibility!”

Hannah had a bigger vision for her and her family, a vision that was the culmination of all of her work. Hannah wanted to own a home, a place to call her own.

“When my first daughter started working, she helped us with the family expenses so I could save. I have always had every intention of owning a house, and that was my next target,” Hannah said. “My next three loans were channeled toward purchasing land. Our farm was also providing extra income.”

In 2021, Self-Help staff visited Hannah’s new property and were excited to see that she had almost finished construction on a four room house.

“Thanks to Self-Help’s microcredit program, I have been able to achieve my life-long wishes of owning a business, enrolling my children in school, and having my own house! I have a lot to show for my work with this program. I could dare to dream because Self-Help’s team was with me every step of the way.”