Lives Transformed by OneVillage Partners
Meet Baindu Konneh
When Baindu first returned home from the Nyandiama Refugee Camp after the Sierra Leonean civil war was over, she found her village no longer existed. With little food and four children to feed, her husband abandoned her. Baindu and her children had to squeeze into the one building left standing, along with all the other women and children in the village.
“When OVP arrived, that is when we began putting the pieces of our village back together… I was able to put up a small structure for my five children and aging mother thanks to the roofing materials provided by OVP. In 2010, OVP provided me and four other women with an income-generating small business loan. We used the $250 to buy palm oil when the market was low and resold it when the market was higher. We made all our loan payments. That provided me with the money to begin a business on my own. I sell dried fish, onions, vegetables, salt and sugar.
“OVP also offered my son a scholarship to get his teaching certificate, and today he teaches in the local primary school. Because of OVP, my son went to school and has productive work, I have a business and my family has a home. I could not have survived without the generosity of OneVillage Partners.”
Meet Baindu Joseph
A single women in her late thirties, Baindu Joseph was left alone because she could not bear children. She eked out a living by farming a small plot of land by herself. Because she had no husband, no children, and little income, she had a low social standing in her village. Life was very difficult.
In 2009, OneVillage Partners’ staff identified Baindu as a potential leader. With training and a small loan, she started her own business selling clothing and living essentials. With continued encouragement, she grew this into a shop on the main road. The only woman-owned shop around, Baindu now has several thousand dollars of inventory, sustainable relationships with several distributors in the area, and a monthly income sufficient to support herself and the children of her deceased sister.
“Over the last few years, I have worked very hard to build my own business. I now own the biggest shop in town. Usually this would be impossible for a single woman who cannot have children and is without a husband. OVP assisted me by giving me a small loan, business planning tools, and most importantly, the confidence for me to do what I never dreamed was possible. Now I help other women to do the same.” Today Baindu is a leader in her community, having started a large group of women called themselves Peace Mothers, who run small income-generating projects to support their children’s education.
Meet Yusef Johnny
Yusef Johnny and his village of Jokibu have really benefitted from their work with OneVillage Partners. Yusef was so impressed by OVP’s early work that he began volunteering for the organization. He did such a good job that we was later hired on.
“Things are getting better in this community. OVP has helped make this happen with their programs and helping with needs like good drinking wells. People are healthier and are able to do things on their own. OVP has made a difference in education by providing scholarships for children and for college students. For people here to be able to pay the tuition fees is very difficult, and helping people with this has made a big impact.”
Yousef sees the long term impact of OVP’s work in the way people continue to work together, pooling their resources in groups to buy income-generating assets. “We really need to continue working together. Now people see new ways to develop their lives.”