Josepha, a 76-year-old widow, lives in Simbu Province in Papua New Guinea.
When her husband died, she became the breadwinner of her household, providing for her three children who were very young, sending them to school, looking after their basic necessities and meeting their traditional obligations.
“Because of my outstanding contribution and hard work in raising a lot of pigs, saving thousands of kina and producing sufficient food supply and meeting all customary obligations, the clan leaders in my clan acknowledged my efforts, time and commitment and told me to rest, not to work hard anymore; and wait to die,” Josepha says.
She obeyed. But she was left vulnerable, impoverished and malnourished.
“I had no other plan in life. My house and garden were covered with bushes. Nobody in the village, even my in-laws and my grandchildren [were] coming to my need, I was hungry, I had no food, or money or even no clothes to wear. It was sad that I sometimes go to bed without having any food.”
The one Sunday in July 2022, Josepha went to church and heard about Mercy Works 30-kina (A$13) project. Thanks to generosity of people like you, Josepha was able to join Mercy Works micro financing enterprise, the 30-Kina project, where she was given money on loan to purchase feed for her three ducks.
“Without any hesitation, I was given the money…One of my female ducks laid a total of eighteen eggs and nine eggs hatched into a total of nine ducklings. I was happy that I sold five ducklings for twenty kina each, earning a total of one hundred kina (A$?).
After two weeks, she returned her thirty kina back to Mercy Works.
“I learned that just sitting down and lazing around doing nothing was over. I was motivated to join others to prepare cassava lunch, mushroom farming, training children about traditional values on Saturdays and participating in Leave No One Behind Village Savings and Loans Association (LNB-VSLA).”
The LNB-VSLA is an extension of the 30-Kina project whereby participants are given start-up capital to engage in an income generating activity of their choice. Once earning a regular income, the participant is encouraged to join a ‘Leave No One Behind Savings and Loan Association’ group – which are self-managed groups where members meet fortnightly to save their money in a safe box and access small loans from their own groups savings. You can read more about our LNB – VSLA’s here.
Josepha is one of the three key holders for her group’s lockbox.
“I underestimated my resilience and inner strength to contribute meaningfully to the lives of others and to help sustain my own well-being.
I felt that I was too old to do anything and am done with my life. But that concept of mine was not approved by Mercy Works. Mercy Works believes in me, convincing me that start believe in myself and the potential I have in me.”
Josepha says she now sees Mercy Works as a “light house for my life”.
“Mercy Works has given me new hope and direction in my life. I am amazed that I feel young at heart. I planted taro, beans, cassava and sweet potato.
“I have money, food, a new garden and the number of my ducks increased to forty-five. I contribute with the rest of the LNB – VSLA members, purchasing one to five shares every two weeks.
“At the end of every month, we conduct loans meeting, [and it’s] time to repay loans and give loans to new members.”
Josepha says before Mercy Works she was feeling and behaving like “an old woman’.
But now, she has meaning and purpose.
“I particularly like about Mercy Works strength in mobilizing people and community power within to drive their own development agenda. Mercy Works gives hope to both young and old, rich and poor.
“With Mercy Works, I have a bright future, I am working with my grandchildren to live a meaningful life when I am gone and done with my life.
“I do appreciate Mercy Works program, it’s the best program for the people, with the people, by the people and for the people. I know that many lives will be changed with Mercy Works.”
This tax time, you can support more people like Josepha to educate them on how to better manage their livelihoods, resources and improve their well-being in a sustainable way to escape the cycle of poverty.
Donate now to transform the lives of people like Josepha.
Mercy Works NEEDS YOUR HELP to reach our goal of $10,000 for our micro-financing activities.
YOUR HELP WILL enable us to continue this LIFE-CHANGING work providing start up capital to groups who are then able to financially mobilise and empower themselves and break the cycle of poverty.
If any funds remain after we reach our goal, they will go to further support the participants in our Simbu Program in Papua New Guinea.