The mission to provide loans came about when elders in the community said, “We do not want to be beggars, we want our own income.” Our philosophy of awarding loans differs significantly from other micro-financing organizations.
Our micro loan program is unique because:
Connect Africa maintains a tremendous success rate of loan repayment that we attribute to our grassroots presence in the village. Our close relationship with each loan-recipient includes our assistance and advice at all times.
Akelo Annet: Inquisitive, outspoken, assertive and a bit quarrelsome were our first thoughts when we met Akelo Annet back in 2011. At the time she and her family live in a simple dwelling with a mud floor. Her husband repeatedly beats her and the children. Yet, it is abundantly clear that she is different from the more passive village women.
She quickly learns to knit and readily becomes the best knitter of dolls. Her facility with English and confidence in speaking lead her to become Lynn's interpreter. Day in and day out we observe her tirelessly working in her garden to grow food for her family, and in the fields making bricks. She is ambitious for her children, wanting them to become educated and have a better life, but her husband will not allow them to go to school.
December 2015 Annet's husband dies leaving her as the sole parent and breadwinner for her family of five children, the youngest not yet a year old. In mourning she is overwhelmed at how she will manage but determined not to become her husband's brother's wife as the culture demands.
In April 2016 a new Annet emerges. CAF buys 14,000 of her hand made bricks, giving her the first sizable money of her own she has ever had. She choses to save half, using the remainder to pay school fees, other debts and buy essential home products. As our new bakery is getting underway Annett has thrown herself into making it thrive. She is the book keeper for the endeavor readily tracking costs, sales and inventory.
Her resourcefulness and our support result in her children attending school. Our education loans enable her to pay tuition in one lump sum as is required and then, over the course of the year, she pays back the loan with the proceeds from knitting, the bakery and brick sales. She and her children have better clothing to wear; a healthier, cleaner living situation and access to healthcare.