Over the years we've learnt a lot about best practice aid and development. One of the clearest ways we're moving forward in this area is through Self Help Groups, of which Latashe is a member.
“After I joined the Self Help Group in 2008, hope began. Most of us used to stay at home, dependent on our husbands. But now all the members are engaged in different kinds of income generating activities. I praise God because he has prepared things for me to do in advance and I am realising them through this business.
My name is Latashe and I am 65 years old. For years I used to prepare a local beverage for people to get drunk on at my house. To finance my small business I used money lenders who charged much interest but the profit wasn’t enough to even feed myself.
My husband died many years ago and although I wanted to give birth to more children; I only had one son.
When I first heard about the idea of a Self Help Group I was unhappy and angry because what I needed at the time was money or something to eat – not something that might pay off in a year or so. Therefore, I told Tearfund’s partner (Wollita Kalehey Hiwot Church) to get lost if there was nothing they could give me. I was also very suspicious because of other so-called saving schemes to which I lost my money. Looking back now I am so thankful and my heart is filled with gratitude for not giving up on us even when we were so difficult. After I joined the Self Help Group in 2008, hope began. We each started saving 0.5 Birr a week. Our first loan was for Birr50. But we now save Birr10 a week and we borrow up to Birr 5,000 from our group. We have a total capital of Birr 45,000.
The Self Help Group I’m part of decided to use our joint savings and start a project to have water installed in our homes. We called our local government office and told them we had the money to pay for it. All 23 of us women in the group now have running water at our houses. Today my business is selling water to those who have no tap water at their houses.
I have a natural compassion for children and with the money I receive from my small business I am able to support three orphans aged 5-12. I do this because I believe the Bible tells me to and I’m happy to do it as I always wanted to be a mother to more children. Because I am getting older my hope is to prepare a safe place for all my children. I want them to be able to take the money I have saved and kick start a good life. I praise God because he has given me good health. He prepared things for me to do in advance and I am realising them through this business."