A loan of $3,500 helped a member buying and selling palm oil to supplement his teaching salary.


Slmb Ii Group's story

These are teachers from the Sierra Leone Muslim Brotherhood (SLMB II) Primary school in Magburaka. It was founded in 1961 and named after its founding mission. SLMB II caters to children between the ages of nine and twelve (classes four-six). SLMB II has a total of 581 pupils with a staff of seventeen teachers and administrators. They are very proud of their 98% pass rate on the most recent National Primary School Exams (NPSE). Last year, of the 103 pupils sent to take the exams,102 passed successfully.

This is the group's first loan with SMT. They heard of SMT from colleagues in other schools who have benefited greatly from SMT’s services. The use of the loan varies amongst the teachers. Some of the staff members will start a small business. Those who are already small business owners will invest the loan into their businesses. Some of the staff members will be using the loan to buy pieces of furniture for their domiciles and others plan to pay either for their children’s education or to pursue further studies themselves.

Government salaries are usually quite small for teachers, thus making teaching an unattractive profession for many whose primary motivator is money. Many choose other jobs over teaching because of the small salary, thus starving the field of qualified personnel to teach the children. The few who remain in the classroom have to find other ways of making ends meet. The vast majority of them engage in either business or agriculture or they provide extra tutorial classes for the children (though this is a practice the government is trying to stop). Needless to say, loans from SMT are a great help to the teachers in order to boost their businesses or invest it in something productive. Many want to go to school but could not afford the cost. Some will want to buy pieces of furniture, but their monthly salary is not enough to let them do so. With a loan, they will be able to meet some of these needs. And with their monthly salaries, they can repay easily via a payroll deduction type of system.

Forty-one year old Francis T. (third from right) is the head teacher at SLMB II. He was born in Makeni Yoni, a village about forty-three miles from Magburaka town. He is married to a teacher and the two have six children. Three of his children are in primary school and three in secondary school. Francis will invest his loan in business. He has already been in business for two years now. He buys and sells palm oil, ground-nuts and rice. With this loan, he will invest all of it in palm oil alone. He is expecting to be able to get at least twenty-five “barters” of palm oil (five gallons of palm oil make one barter). He purchases the palm oil in the nearby village of Makump, about nine miles round-trip from Magburaka. A barter of palm oil costs something between Le 40,000 and 50,000. There are no constant prices; prices fluctuate depending on the season and the availability of the palm oil. Francis is very excited about this loan as the profit it will generate for him will make him “feel like I’ve been a successful somebody in life.”

In this group: Francis, Joseph, Rukaya, Fulaymatu, Imman, Abdul, Mohamed, Abdul , Ibrahim Y., Zainab*, Abubakar, Muctar*
*not pictured



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Loan details