June 2012 Newsletter – First Irkeepusi Loans

Newsletter June 2012
Dear Loyal Supporters
Many thanks for your encouragement and support over the last 6 months. Your many donations have enabled us to continue with our projects for poverty relief. Our barn Dance raised £2538 and the clothing collected so far has raised £300. Well done!
I have just returned from another successful trip to Tanzania with lots to tell you:
Short version:
 We ran business training and gave out loans to 28 people in Irkeepusi.
 I’ve seen our goats and their many offspring! They are thriving, and the people are very happy with them.
 We are going to build and staff nursery classes at the primary schools.
Longer version:
In December last year AMSO (Alailelai Maasai Sustainability Organisation) ran the first loan training in the area  with WMI (Women’s Microfinance Initiative) trainers, for the women from Alailelai. Our staff and women from Irkeepusi attended in preparation for our training.

This May we ran our own training for 23 women and 5 men. Again WMI staff visited from Kenya and Uganda with their excellent course. Our staff had another opportunity to learn from them, ready to continue the training themselves next time. The women will work together on their businesses in groups of 5-6 and the men in one group of 5, each backing the loans of the others in their small group.

During the training they all listened attentively and gave positive feedback when asked questions. There was lots of humour in the dramas and in the thanks for good answers to questions. The trainers themselves shared their own history, that they once lived in poverty, and now have successful businesses and their children are going to school and to university.

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WMI Trainers in their adapted Maasai clothes

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Women listening carefully to the trainers

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After the training they then drew up their business plans with support from the trainers, each group of 6 having one literate person to keep the records. The economy in the area is mainly livestock and maize. The men will buy and sell cattle and goats for meat, the women will buy maize in the town for resale in the villages, and will also each sell something else such as second hand clothes, leather goods or their jewellery. They will have a quick turn around of their goods, selling in the two-weekly markets. The loan repayment dates have been set for the day after each market. In their business plans the sale of these goods will generate enough income to pay back the loan with 10% for running costs and the supervisor’s stipend. A percentage of the remaining profits will be put into their savings account. During the training it was stressed that they will not escape from poverty if they do not save: ‘Illness does not make an appointment’, you have to be ready.

When their business plans were complete we gave out the loans to one representative from each group. The elders led prayers at the beginning and end of the training and there were many speeches of gratitude to God and WTWT, including to you, the people who support us in the UK. It was very moving. I was given gifts of neck circlets with my name on, and I assured them that I would pass on their huge thanks to you in the UK who are making all these things possible.

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Giving the first loans

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I am excited about the new businesses and will keep you up to date with how they are going. As long as the borrowers prove successful and reliable at repaying, they will be able to have another loan. When they are financially secure, they will no longer need the WTWT money and it will be freed to loan to others.
…Stop press- I have just heard that the businesses have got off to a good start, and all groups have repaid their first loan payment!
We complete the project for the destitute with a final batch of goats next month.
Nursery Classes
The Maasai children who go to primary school have not been doing very well, often finishing still unable to read and write. The main reason for this is that the lessons are taught in Swahili, the national language of Tanzania, but the children only speak Maa, their mother tongue. It takes them some time to pick up Swahili and delays their education. Our plan is to build a nursery class in each sub village and to train three nursery teachers. The children can then learn Swahili before they start. This will also encourage more children to attend. As children get older they are often used to look after the cows and goats and then their parents do not allow them to go to school. If they start nursery while they are young there will be more chance of them staying on. We met with the head teachers on this visit. They are very keen for this project to start.
If any of you would like to make a donation towards these projects, or set up a standing order our bank account is: ‘Weston Turville Wells for Tanzania’ at Lloyds TSB, account number: 00087400, sort code 30-90-38. Cheques can be made payable to ‘WTWT’ and posted to our address below.
Love Rachel
Rachel Blackmore
Weston Turville Wells for Tanzania (WTWT)
Registered UK charity No: 1125141
Registered office: Old Crown, West End, Weston Turville, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP22 5TT Phone: +441296 614751 (land line) or +447792 475094 (mobile)