A micro-credit club in Ghana is empowering women thanks to the fundraising efforts of the Charity Club from Copenhagen International School.
The Charity Club has been donating money to the Talented Women’s Club (TWC) since 2002, which the TWC has then passed on to its members in the form of micro-credit business loans.
Last week, club leader Anastasia Essien travelled to Denmark, thanks to a grant from the Danish development agency Danida, to talk about the club’s successes.
She explained that the first loan she received enabled her to set up a small bakery that increased her income so she could move into a larger home with her family.
Over the past ten years, the club has steadily grown in size and now the club is made up of 45 women who use the micro-loans to develop their businesses.
“At first the women in our group were working on little projects, but now they are empowered and their businesses are growing, which is good,” explained Essien.
During her presentation at a meeting of the American Women’s Club last week, Essien explained how many of the women are from poor peasant families who left school when they were young to support their families.
But by joining the TWC and gaining access to small amounts of credit, many women have managed to transform their lives and educate their children.
The club’s funds are owned collectively and grow as the loans are paid back with interest.
Every Sunday the women meet and decide whether to change interest rates – currently 15 percent – and which projects to support.
“They pick people who they know will work and understand that they have to pay back and show up to meetings,” Charity Club supervisor Amy Faircloth said.
The club also has an ambition to improve the general health and livelihood of the community.
For the past four years, students studying global nutrition and health at Copenhagen’s Metropolitan University College have visited the TWC and worked on a variety of health-related projects.
Their work has encouraged the TWC to promote exercise and healthy eating in their community, and it has led to the recent purchase of a 400 sqm plot of land for growing crops.
This summer, a new NGO called the Talent Tree was established to build on the Charity Club’s fundraising success and ensure that women in Ghana will continue to receive a small push toward an empowered life.