July 21, 2014
By Simon Chambers
In 1999, PWRDF gave a grant of $50,000 to the Two Rivers Community Development Centre (TRCDC) in Six Nations of the Grand River and Mississaugas of the New Credit. The grant, earmarked for micro-credit loans to indigenous women and youth, was made in memory of PWRDF’s former Executive Director Robin Gibson who had died on December 27, 1998.
In 2009, TRCDC sent PWRDF a cheque for $55,314 in repayment of the micro-credit loans. The loans had gone to people like Marjorie Henhawk, who makes arts and crafts to sell at Pow Wows and craft shows or Dianne Harris who opened a restaurant out of her home. 80% of the businesses were able to repay their loans in full over the course of the 10 years.
PRWDF decided to split the original $50,000 in half and offer it to two new partners at this time. $25,000 was earmarked for the Caixa das Mulheres de Nampula, a women’s microcredit organization in Mozambique, and $25,000 for the Organization for Eelam Refugees Rehabilitation (OfERR). Unfortunately, OfERR was unable to make use of the funds in micro-credit at that time, but the Caixas received their $25,000.
Over the ensuing five years, that loan allowed women to start restaurants, tailor shops, gravel businesses and more. Asuncion is one such woman, who used a loan from the Caixa to start a butchery, selling beef one cow at a time until she was able to purchase a refrigerator with a subsequent loan which has allowed her to expand her business. She has now expanded with the purchase of a barbeque to the sale of cooked meat on the weekends.
In just five years, the Caixa was able to repay the $25,000 loan to PWRDF. Which leaves us with the $25,000 question- what will be done with the money now?
The answer is: It will be sent to a new area of Mozambique””Pemba””where the Caixas are expanding, enabling more women to take control of their own lives and livelihoods. Five years from now, who knows what stories that $25,000 will tell!