Graduation and the Path to Success

Amazing how graduation creates opportunities for the poor:

What does graduation mean to you?

Is it the end of a long journey or the first step on a new path? Around the world, graduation is sign of accomplishment. It means independence, freedom, and stepping out, prepared for a greater task.

"In South Sudan, graduation means success or achievement. It is always celebrated and graduates are highly respected." (John Chol, South Sudan Country Coordinator)

Five Talents is proud to help families graduate from dependence and poverty to dignity and a new way of life.

Graduation is a key part of Five Talents' approach to sustainable development. In some areas where we work, communities begin by learning how to read and write. The journey to becoming literate, financially self-sustaining and an empowered business owner doesn't happen overnight.

Financial Literacy and Community Development

Developing functional literacy as well as financial literacy can take up to three years. For example, in South Sudan, Five Talents has helped over 16,000 people learn to read and write through a three year training and accreditation. This includes thousands of single mothers like Josephine who keeps her graduation certificate proudly and is teaching each of her children how to read and write.

Helping families graduate and succeed in South Sudan

Once women like Josephine have these basic skills, they start biblically based classes in savings and business and join with others to form savings and loan associations in their communitiess

The savings group model, means graduates move from poverty into sustainable community and business development – all in partnership with their local church.

On average it takes an additional 12 to 16 months for these savings groups to complete training, mentorship, and development and to graduate from the program.

Five Talents maintains strict guidelines to ensure that groups are functioning well and can continue as sustainable associations after graduation.

A community savings group meets in South Sudan prior to graduation.

Developing Strong Community Savings Groups

In South Sudan, for example, groups are ready to graduate when:

  • Members have completed savings and business training
  • The group has active and structured leadership
  • Adopted bylaws and loaning policies are in practice
  • Weekly or monthly records are maintained
  • All members have successfully completed at least one borrowing cycle

Consider the case of the "New Life" savings group from South Sudan. With fourteen members, the group began saving together in 2013. By the time they graduated they had saved $90. Today they have close to $1,000 in active savings, own a joint pharmacy, and have given loans to over 25 small businesses in their community.

At Five Talents, we believe this is the way to smart, sustainable development. It is how the church is meeting the physical needs of the poor in some of the most difficult places in the world today.

When you support Five Talents, you help groups like New Life to multiply their talents and bring hope and transformation to their villages and communities. Make a gift today and help families like Josephine's create opportunity.