Pathways of Growth
All over the world, people are stuck in the vicious cycle of poverty. Hardworking individuals rely on the necessary tools to grow out of poverty through small loans, job training, and encouragement.
ADRA’s economic growth programs have helped thousands of individuals increase productivity and income. Our portfolio has built upon gains in agricultural productivity and increased demand for smallholder farmer production through adoption of a value chain approach. ADRA supports people to improve their access to markets, gain vocational skills, and secure credit and other financial services.Donate Today
Ekua was barely able to provide for her loved ones. Living in Gambia with her husband, who was out of work, she became the sole provider. She was selling dried fish at the market and earning paltry profits, so the little food she could afford was not nearly enough to nourish her family.
Without enough food, her children suffered, and their health continued to deteriorate. Ekua was forced to borrow money from her neighbors just to avoid starvation. With the most basic needs unmet, education became a luxury, and her children were removed from school.
Everything changed in June.
Ekua overheard some women in the market discussing ADRA’s microfinance project, and she decided to investigate. When she learned about the business management and personal finance training that accompanies every microloan, she applied immediately and was soon accepted into the program.
Today, Ekua operates a successful dried fish business. With the money from her loan, she secured several bulk orders from local fishermen and constructed a mud oven for more efficient smoking and drying. Because of this thriving dried fish enterprise, her family eats three nutritious meals every day and her children are back in school.
“I am really proud of ADRA’s microfinance project,” says Ekua. “I pray that ADRA will continue to help other needy women like myself.”
Maria Martha Ordoñez, age 73, is the matriarch of a full house. Within her home are two sons, three daughters, and two grandchildren. Like many subsistence farmers in the rural Alto community, Maria planted corn on her modest parcel of land to feed her household.
That year, the rains came too late. Maria and her family tilled the soil, sowed the field, and prayed for rain. The days passed in an arid and cloudless blur. Every morning and every evening, the villagers of Alto peered into the sky, but there was nothing to see. The horizon gave no promises and yielded no hope.
The earth hardened, and the seeds shriveled and died. Maria barely had enough water to drink and cook, and none to spare for the corn. The grandchildren began to cry more, and Maria was heartbroken with helplessness. Her children all did what they could, but as subsistence farmers, they were equally helpless.
Then ADRA came into the community of Alto. Representatives toured the village and met with the families. One of those families was Maria’s. They saw the state of her land and of her family. They promised they would be back, but Maria was skeptical.
“A group of us had been going to the municipality to ask the mayor for help, but we received only promises and more promises,” Maria said. “Our family needed food, not just words.”
But the next day, ADRA returned to her home with enough food to last until the rains came.
“When they came and looked at our land and situation, I thought they would never come back,” Maria said. “But there they were, blessing my family and our people.”
The next day, rain soaked the dry earth, promising a yield in the near future for their second crop. For families like Maria’s, this provides them the opportunity to develop their own sustainable living while surviving on the food given them by ADRA.
Raniza lives in a village of Tharu, a population of forest dwellers indigenous to the Himalayan foothills of southern Nepal. A few years ago, she was unable to read or write, and her only source of income was cutting and selling firewood
Like so many women of her village, Raniza lived a life of constant labor—first as a girl and then as a teenage bride. She rarely left the house, had few friends, and had even fewer opportunities for an education.
When ADRA offered literacy and vocational training in her village, she was desperate for the opportunity. Her husband was opposed to it, but relented after ADRA representatives personally explained the benefits of a literate and economically productive wife.
Not only did ADRA teach the women to read, write, and calculate prices at the market, but they also taught leadership, personal finance, and vocational alternatives to deforestation. Following the training, these participants formed groups to provide both financial and emotional support.
Together, these women pooled their resources and contributed to several highly successful income-generating activities that are sustainable and environmentally friendly. These enterprises were so successful that ADRA offered additional training in kitchen gardening and the production of biobriketts, an alternative to firewood.
Now the women have advanced training in agriculture and finance that enables them and their families to prosper.
Raniza began a tailoring business. It had some success, but she wanted to expand to further support her family, so she added a snack shop, and then a small grocery. Now with the three businesses, her family is financially secure and Raniza will never have to cut firewood again.
ADRA recognizes the value of literate and productive women. They contribute to their families, to society, and to their own happiness, creating a positive cycle that will be felt for generations.