Small Loans Change Lives of Togolese HIV/AIDS Victims
July 9, 2009
A unique project partnering Sweden's Save the Children, the Togolese micro-finance institute Investir Dans l'Humanite, and the Lomé-based HIV/AIDS organization Jade is providing 50 families affected by HIV with small business loans, training, and support.
The program has proved successful, giving the families tools that allow them to take care of their basic needs, said Jade President Joel Ahadjitse. Similar projects in the past for people living with HIV/AIDS did not work due to a lack of financial experience to manage the loans, said Ahadjitse. The added expertise of Investir has changed that, he noted.
Another key to the program's success is support. Jade helps the families with their psychological, nutritional, and medical needs. When a person with HIV or one of their family members becomes ill, Jade provides free medical care so they do not have to spend their loan money on treatment.
Two years into the program, more than half of the borrowing families have paid back their loans in full, and more than three-quarters have posted profits from their business. One client, Julienne, has set up a market stall selling beauty products and towels. Others have started motorbike taxi services and small commercial businesses.
Julienne said the program is about more than just profit. It has helped her get on with life, providing her with the means to take care of her family and be independent. Before she received the loan, she did little else but sleep and worry about her situation. Now she wakes up in the morning, takes a shower, and says, "I am going to work today."
Voice of America News
06.15.2009; Fid Thompson
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.