Thanks to the income his mother now earns from her small food business, 10-year-old Akot has begun first grade, the first step toward his dream of becoming a doctor. Ahok, Akot’s mother, used small loans to begin selling prepared food items, like vegetable dishes and sandwiches, in Lietnhom, Sudan. With the income from her business, this single mother has been able to send all five of her children to school.
“When I finish school, I would like to be a doctor,” Akot said. “I will also start a business like my mother and when I get money I will build a house for my mom.”
“I love my mother,” he said. “She bought me a school uniform, and she gives me milk and biscuits every day to eat and drink. I also love my school uniform; I look smart in school, unlike many of my friends who do not have school uniforms and even books.”
Ahok started her business with a $75 loan. She has now received a second loan of $150 from the village bank in Lietnhom, which was established by a consortium of organizations, including Five Talents, World Concern and the Episcopal Church of Sudan.
“My children rely on my business, because I receive little or no support from my husband,” she said. “I am determined to make sure that all my children get good education, because I feel this is what will help them in future.”
She challenges other women in her town to start businesses so that they too can provide their families with basic needs. And, she has set an example worth following – single-handedly, she has been able to send her oldest son to secondary school in Kampala, Uganda, since there are no high schools in Lietnhom.
Ahok is one of the most respected women in her village because of the way she is caring for her children.
“I do not know what would have happened to my family and children if Five Talents had not come to our town,” Ahok said. “Before they came, I was not able to buy enough food, school books or uniforms for my children. Now, I am able to support my children with all they need.”
Established in 1999, Five Talents International has provided funding for business training and thousands of loans, ranging from $50 to $300, in 15 countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Each loan finances a microbusiness that, in turn, supports up to six other people. A majority of the loan recipients are women.
Five Talents’ ongoing work is supported by a staff based in Vienna, Va., an office in London, England, and a program office in Kampala, Uganda. Hundreds of volunteers across the United States and United Kingdom participate in the ministry. For more information and to donate, visit www.fivetalents.org.