John M.'s Group
In 1998, the rebel invasion of the town of Magburaka left the school in ruins – buildings, staff quarters and dormitories were damaged. Laboratory equipment was destroyed, especially in the home economics and biology departments. Because of the invasion, the students and staff were forced to flee to Freetown to the Richard Allen High School, where they sought refuge until 2003. After a peace treaty between the rebels and the government was reached in 2002, they were able to return to Magburaka.
With funds from the United Nations and the European Union, the once-mutilated school has been rehabilitated. UNICEF refurnished the laboratories with new equipment. The school is up-and-running once again, but the scar left by the rebels still remains – many of the teachers are not willing to return to the remote village of Mathora and a host of them have decided to remain in Freetown, where living conditions are bit better to that of the Mathora village. There are only a few who are willing to return and are determined to help the pupils of Magburaka and its environs.
Additionally, the teaching profession is one of the least preferred professions in Sierra Leone because salaries are not very attractive. Those who have found themselves in the profession usually are forced to seek other ways of earning more income to supplement their salaries. Many of them either engage in petty trading, in agriculture or in organizing extra classes (a practice the Sierra Leone government is trying to stop) in an effort to make additional money.
Some of the teachers from Mathora have requested the loan for purposes of expanding their businesses. Others will use their loans to give to their wives, who may already be businesswomen. It is out of their wives’ businesses that they generate additional income and assist a great deal in the running of their respective households. Furthermore, some of the teachers will be using the loan for either a building project or in buying pieces of furniture – a piece of furniture which they would not normally be able to buy on their current salary. Finally, some will use their loan either to pay school fees and other related charges for their children or pursue further studies themselves.
John M. B. (on the left) is a senior teacher at the school and head of this group. He has been a teacher for eighteen years. John was born in a place call Rotufunk, in southern Sierra Leone. He is forty-eight years old, married to a businesswoman and they have three children. One of their child is attending secondary school and the others are in primary schools. This is the third loan John and others in the group have received from SMT/Kiva Lenders. With his first loan, he was able to pursue a masters degree coarse, with the second loan, he bought a piece of land. And with this loan, Mr. B. will use it to buy house building materials like iron corrugated zincs, iron robs and bags of cements.
About Salone Microfinance Trust (SMT)Salone Microfinance Trust (SMT) is Kiva’s oldest field partner in Sierra Leone. SMT began operations in 2002 as a microcredit program of the NGO Child Fund Sierra Leone under a USAID program to assist the reintegration of ex combatants back into their communities. Today, SMT offers group, agricultural, individual and salary loans to micro-entrepreneurs through six branches and one sub-branch in rural, urban, and peri-urban areas. By providing small loans and other financial services, SMT empowers poor clients to generate more income to help their families, improve their wellbeing, and create a more vibrant private small-business sector in Sierra Leone.
This is a Group Loan
In a group loan, each member of the group receives an individual loan but is part of a larger group of individuals. The group is there to provide support to the members and to provide a system of peer pressure, but groups may or may not be formally bound by a group guarantee. In cases where there is a group guarantee, members of the group are responsible for paying back the loans of their fellow group members in the case of delinquency or default.
Kiva's Field Partners typically feature one borrower from a group. The loan description, sector, and other attributes for a group loan profile are determined by the featured borrower's loan. The other members of the group are not required to use their loans for the same purpose.
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