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Helm Alen ‘We have a dream!’

Name: Helm Alen ‘We have a dream!’ SHG,

Location:Wenji Geferssa, Southern Ethiopia

Date of Establishment: Feb 2nd 2012

Membership: 13 women aged 24-36 years old

Household: The group represents 76 household members including 56 children:  33 boys and 23 girls.

Economic status:  We have average household monthly incomes of £15-20 which is relatively low. We live just below the poverty line by international standards. Our households live on one or two meals a day with little fruit or vegetables and very rarely meat. We can send one or two children to primary school. We buy second-hand clothes for our children to share once a year and our rented housing is poor, although we usually have blankets. We cannot provide health care or medicines for family members unless we borrow money which we may never be able to repay.

Helm Alen SHG members’ initial savings were 7p per week but now we save £1.20 each per week. In total we have saved £125. The group has a social contribution of 2p per week that helps us to support one another during times of sorrow or emergency.

The group’s first loan was of £ 17 and the largest loan we have made is £50. In total we have loaned £67 to members since we started.

These loans have been used by individual members to start businesses including cattle fattening, and petty trading. As a group we buy cooking oil, pepper, and flour in bulk and distribute it to our members. We have received training to help us set up our group and in savings and loans.

We plan to start a grain store and start fattening cattle. We have asked the government to give us land for this. If they don’t then we will increase our savings and buy the land ourselves.

 What the SHG means to Jemila Mohammed

“I am divorced with 3 family members to support. With my first loan I started a brewing business and also started preparing chick pea flour and spices to sell. This started to change my household. With the profit I have increased my savings. As for my social life I had never attended meetings before. Now I have meetings with my group members each week. I get new ideas from them and they always encourage me to work hard and change my life for the better.”



With your help, we can support the further development of the Self Help Group programme so that more people can work together to use their own resources to feed their families, send their children to school and improve their communities as this group has done.