UMW micro-loans help businesswomen in Africa
March 31, 2015
By Kathy L. Gilbert | United Methodist News Service
ABIDJAN, Côte d'Ivoire (UMNS) — Eugenie Sowan Erse N’Ghessan is bent over her loud, blue, industrial sewing machine in the back corner of a small room she shares with three other tailors.
She works from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., and she is happy and feels blessed because she is earning a living for herself and her seven children.
Surrounded by multicolored fabric and thread, N’Ghessan also keeps a folder nearby. Inside is the paperwork that shows she completed training and owns the machine she is using. She is one of 48 women who received a micro-loan from the United Methodist Women in the Côte d’Ivoire Conference. That loan started her business.
N’Ghessan’s husband is retired. She wasn’t a tailor before she got the machine but she has learned to embroider, which brings her a lot of business making school and business uniforms.
A mannequin standing out front of her shop is dressed in an elegant full-length burgundy dress adorned with heavy satin stitches in teal thread. This is one example of N’Ghessan’s work, and it is the kind of work she enjoys most.
“I love to embroider because it is very beautiful,” she said.
N’Ghessan said it takes two days to make such a detailed dress and she earns 10,000 CFAs ($17 U.S.).
Testimonies to success
N’Ghessan’s success is exactly what Dorcas Adou was praying for when she approached the international UMW office in New York three years ago and asked for $20,000 U.S. to start a program to help women become independent business owners.
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