Poverty and Vulnerability in South Sudan
Most families in South Sudan struggle to secure a livelihood. Residents cite a lack of opportunity as well as an absence of resources and the knowledge of where to begin. Banking institutions are almost nonexistent. Vulnerable groups are particularly burdened with the responsibility of finding work to support, feed, clothe and school their children.
Five Talents serves extremely poor communities and many displaced and vulnerable families. Our microenterprise development program supports savings groups, provides access to low-interest loans, and equips vulnerable women and youth with tools and skills to grow businesses, create jobs, generate income and rebuild their lives. Consider the story of Gondit.
As a grandmother in one of the world’s poorest and most fragile countries, Gondit has experienced great hardship and pain. Through war and disease she has lost loved ones, and now she is left as the sole caretaker for two orphaned grandchildren. Being part of a savings group has been a lifesaver in helping Gondit to care for these children.
Group Savings and Economic Development
“Our savings group is called Abi Ngic. It means ‘we will be known by everyone in the community.' This is the first time since our birth that we can come together and get loans in this community”, Gondit says.
The chairlady of the savings group, Regina, says the group “taught them how to put their resources together to benefit from them together. This [has helped] them to develop a culture of savings and understanding that it is possible to mobilize the resources from the community for collective benefits of the community members.
At first I thought we were so poor that we could get the money to save but after training on savings procedure now, we have made a total savings of over [$1,000 USD].”
Regina also notes that the savings program has brought better family relationships. Parents who are members of the group can now borrow money to pay school fees, or buy uniforms and books for their children. Gondit testifies to the impact of the savings group on her own grandchildren:
“I am happy that I attended the training to learn new skills of starting and managing my business. My small business is helping me and my two granddaughters with food, clothes, and medication. Now that I am able to pay school fees for the two children, they are very happy, and they respect me more, and they call me ‘great mama.’ I really feel good to hear that.”
“We are grateful and thankful to the organization for bringing us savings program in our village and we pray for them to create many groups in our community.”