In Sri Lanka, ChildFund supports several job-training and entrepreneurial programs; here, a young woman learns how to use a sewing machine.
ChildFund works in some of the poorest countries in the world. Child sponsorship is one of the best ways to help children living in poverty, but ChildFund has a range of other ways to benefit not just families, but entire communities. Microfinancing programs enable communities to save money and work together toward shared goals, and these projects have proven remarkably effective in many countries.
ChildFund first started work in Mozambique in 2005. Approximately 70 percent of the country lives below the poverty line, meaning urgent action was necessary to help families emerge from poverty. ChildFund has worked with regional KureraWana Association chapters to introduce Village Savings and Loans (VSL) programs.
These initiatives encourage members of the community to save for shared goals, such as the implementation of early childhood development programs. Through the VSL program, members must regularly contribute funds to the shared pool but can also borrow money for important projects. Repayment terms are generous, providing members with an affordable way to fund community resources and also serve their own families' needs.
Some microenterprise projects have empowered marginalized members of communities in Sri Lanka by providing them with the funds they need to launch their own business ventures. A group of Sri Lankan girls learned how to make handicrafts to offer them an alternative to picking tea leaves. Our project to raise more than $10,000 to help Sri Lankan youth expand their employment opportunities was successful, and the effects are still being felt today.
"This is the first time in the tea plantation sector we are going to have this type of program," says Patricia, a participant in the youth-led microenterprise project. "I'm really interested to engage with this program because as a youth leader it helps me to improve my management skills while participating to the several classes and other activities."
Investing in the Future
These initiatives prove that with support, training and encouragement, even the most poverty-stricken communities can work together and improve their lives and those of their children. Helping people help themselves is central to ChildFund's mission, and with your support, we can do even more to empower people living in the world's poorest countries.
To invest in the future of children and their communities, please consider making a donation to Childfund International, which focuses on enterprise and infrastructure. Your kindness and generosity could make all the difference, and the effects of your support will be felt for many years to come.