Living Between a Rock and a Hard Place

A Savings Group Member in South Sudan

Our Five Talents team is traveling in South Sudan now, learning how difficult life can be and how important savings and loan groups are.

Challenges and Opportunities in South Sudan

Imagine what life would be like with 1,000% inflation. Your $10-dollar bill could be worth only $1 at the end of the year. When paper currency seems to become almost worthless in a matter of months, would you invest in goats? Chickens? A cow, if you could afford one?

What if you were the second or third wife and any animal you buy instantly becomes the property of your husband, no longer available for you to sell? How could you save to buy medicines for when your children become sick? How could you save enough to become an entrepreneur under such terribly difficult conditions?

Cushioning the Effects of Hyper-Inflation

If you joined a Five Talents savings group and saved your money there, in South Sudan you could earn about 20-30% interest per month. Even if you could only save 50 cents a week, about average for the areas we’ve seen, in about six months you could take out a loan and start a new business. We’ve seen some of the market stalls, the mini-restaurants, the “giant donut holes” being cooked in oil (they were yummy!), the simple tea sales.

Our programs can’t eliminate all the difficulties of hyper-inflation, but we’ve seen how they offer hope, and often success, to these amazing people. We’ve seen the smiles on their faces that indicate their pride in their independence and what they have accomplished.

Thank you for making a difference. Until next Monday morning, blessings,

Dale Stanton-Hoyle,
Executive Director