Abubakarr, 29, was born in Kabala. He is single with no children. He owns a shop at the Kabala Main Lorry Park. His shop provides a dual purpose—he sells soft and hard drinks, water, and assorted goods in the front of the shop and inside, he provides computer classes for the local people.
Abubakarr has had polio, but he refused to become a beggar in the streets, as many other polio victims are doing in Sierra Leone. His dad could not continue paying his school fees when he reached Junior Secondary School (JSS) III. So Abubakarr began selling a few items like biscuits, matches and cigarettes in a small tray. However, it was very difficult for him to grow from there. He then approached SMT when it began operating in Kabala in 2005. Today, he is very grateful to SMT. He told me: "SMT is my mother, father, and everything. Without SMT I am no where."
With SMT's loans, his business began growing bit by bit. He re-enrolled in school and began paying the fees himself. He wrote his WASSE (West Africa Senior Schools Examination) and managed to make good grades. Then he enrolled in a diploma course at the Fatima Institute, Makeni. He has finished his two-year diploma course in Human Right and Good Governance and is now doing another two-year diploma in Development Studies.
Abubakar's business has grown enormously. Today, he has a generator, a refrigerator, and computers in his shop. With his shop, he is able to support himself well. But in the Sierra Leonean/African cultural matrix, he has the responsibility of taking care of his aged father, mother, and younger brothers as well as paying for his continuing education.
Due to his hard work and his polio condition, Care has offered him a scholarship for his current two-year diploma course, but he has many other school expenses. He attends Fatima Institute in Makeni, about 90 miles from Kabala. He thus pays a Le 30,000.00 fare to and fro every week to attend school. In his business too, he faces some challenges especially with the computer school he has opened. He is in short supply of items like turners and copiers. But life is full of challenges he told me. The more income one has, the greater are his responsibilities.
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.