The idea is simple: Women start out by taking a small loan and committing to the program's guidelines to improve their family's health, standard of living and education. GSF's microcredit program started with a group of 60 women from one village, and small loans of around $75 for a year.
To succeed in business, you must start with something. Sheer will does not give an aspiring businessperson money to buy supplies. We have seen how women seize the opportunities these loans provide.The program has an oversight committee comprised of women from the community and has been named by them - "Micro Credit et D'epargne Pour les Petites Marchandes de L'ile a Vache" or MICEPMIV.
After 6 years we have a remarkable success rate of over 95% repayment, the only exceptions being due to death or serious disease of the borrower or a member of her immediate family. Our interest rate is the lowest in the district, and we have become the largest and most respected microloan group.
We have expanded to 5 women's groups, two groups have graduated to larger loans as they gained business experience, and the interest on the loans employs a secretary to manage the accounts and banking, who has prior experience in this field. We then added a new group, for fishermen who need loans for nets and other equipment. Several other small businesses have been separately approved for business loans, eg. a motor-bike taxi (February 2018).
You can make a difference TODAY! Your gift will help to fuel this community-led micro-credit fund to provide affordable loans for starting small businesses. As a woman (or man) repays the loan, the money is used to replenish the fund and give more people access to affordable loans.
Fu Fei - GSF's Inter Island Transport Boat
In 2012 with the financial support of a private donor, GSF purchased a locally built wooden transport boat to move heavy materials. such as sand, gravel, stone and regular cargo. This proved to be a useful addition to community life, providing a more economic option to transport building and other materials for the Foundation, the School and community members who have building projects. We hope to upgrade to a motor launch for visitors and staff, regular goods purchases and other essential trips in the near future.
Donated sails, rope, fittings and outboard motors have helped achieve these ends - but they need to be replaced as they wear out. Sailors - If you can help by donating gear, sailing deliveries to Ile a Vache, or specified donations please contact us!
Sewing Machine Class
We also have a sewing class which has lead to production of school uniforms, hand-embroidery for sale, tailoring for special occasions, and training young teachers.
Men and women were able to attend our masonry classes, started in mid-2014, and then go on to local trades, as well as being involved in the latrine building program which directly benefits their families, and the community's health.
Roselaure (below) recently earned her Masonry Certificate.