Life-changing opportunity for poor women …
As John Sisay launches women’s economic empowerment project
She raises the heavy hammer with her right hand and hits the iron boulder with all her might. Little pieces of the rock bounce in all directions. The way she raises and hits shows that her muscles are not meant for this kind of job, but for hours Isatu Sesay will repeat the actions until a small heap of little rocks pile by her feet.
From time to time she will wipe dripping sweat from her face with the back of her left palm.
At the Hill Top community, one of the most informal and deprived communities overlooking Freetown, this is what the inhabitants do for a living- breaking stones and selling them to contractors. Isatu, a single mother of three, is just one of the many women in the community who labor hard to get their daily meals.
“This is what we do every day,” she says. “You either break stones or your family starve,” she says.
Since her husband died some five years ago, she says, she took over the hard work of breaking stones in order to put food on the table and send her children to school.
“I have to do this because of them (children); they are my only hope,” she says.
Like many countries in Africa, the situation of women in Sierra Leone is very appalling with most finding it difficult to thrive in a society dominated by men and with little opportunities for women. Supporting women to develop Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in countries like Sierra Leone could be the only way to lift them out of poverty and create a sustained livelihood that they will depend on, according to the World Bank Group.
The good news is, Isatu and other vulnerable women across the country are about to benefit from a One Billion Leones project which aims at empowering women in deprived communities. The project, called ‘John for Better Salone Women’s Empowerment’ is the initiative of the Chief Executive Officer of Sierra Rutile, John Sisay.
According to the Coordinator of the project, Saidu Kargbo, a total of Twenty Million Leones will be shared among women who have formed themselves into groups or cooperatives and have developed bankable business ideas.
“We selected them based on their situations with special preference to single mothers and widows. This project will help them to save and empower themselves, support their families and lift themselves from poverty,” Kargbo added.
Furthermore, according to Sylvester Swarray- a representative of the Sierra Rutile CEO, the project will be replicated in one hundred communities across Sierra Leone and will focus not only on empowering women but also developing SMEs through a loan scheme.
“John Sisay believes in business; he believes SMEs are the engine for growth and a way of taking extremely poor people out of poverty,” Swarray notes.
Smiling as she receives her share of the loan, Isatu registers her appreciation to her benefactor (John Sisay) for the support and initiative to take them away from the back-breaking labor to start their own small businesses.
“This is a good start for us. I’ll do my best to make use of this life-changing opportunity,” Isatu says with determination.
By Amadu Lamrana Bah
Stay with Sierra Express Media, for your trusted place in news!
© 2016, https:. All rights reserved.