Making a Difference with Microfinance
As some of you may know, Sail and Swan donates $20 from every wedding order to help fight poverty with Good Return. I love making a difference with Microfinance and thought it would be nice to feature a true story on the blog. It’s good to remind ourselves why we do what we do, and it’s always encouraging to see the difference you can make! So here is one of the most recent stories from Good Return.
Mereani , aged 60, with her husband and 19 year old son, lives in a village based on Fiji’s main island Viti Levu. The coastal village has beautiful surroundings, but unfortunately there are not many jobs for the villagers. Mereani approached SPBD (Good Return’s Fiji partner) for help in trying to get her and her family out of poverty.
“My husband is just a fisherman and I had to work hard on the farm to make ends meet,” she said.
Mereani received a microfinance loan and used the funds to start a few businesses – a baking, screen-printing and tailoring business. She set herself up by purchasing an electric oven, frames and paints for screen printing, and fabric for sewing. She developed her business awareness and instead of trying to sell her goods to the locals where there wasn’t much income, she traveled to high end resorts to sell her goods to tourists. She sells her baked goods in her relatives’ village where there is more disposable income.
She has also received invaluable financial training from SPBD, and said her coach “..teaches me about cashflow, money, expenses and profit. The cashflow diary is very helpful to learn about the financial side of the business.”
Not only has she achieve such fantastic business goals, but Mereani has now been elected as Centre Chief. She believes that SPBD has not only benefited her on a personal level, but now she can extend the benefit to her community as well.
She says, “The village looks up at the ladies because of their businesses, because they are respected they are able to make more positive contributions to the community.”
She is a motivational leader, who pushes her fellow Centre members to achieve their personal goals. One of Mereani’s recent projects was to bring two bus stops to her village – through Centre donations made by members and also by fundraising. Talk about inspirational! She is changing her life, her family’s life, and also her village.
Want to Join in and Make a Difference?
- If you don’t know much about microfinance I’d encourage to find out a bit more about it! There is so much information online and I’ve read plenty of good books on the subject.
- If you’re a bride-to-be, then I’d encourage you to see if there is a way you can use your wedding to make a difference. Maybe your bonbonierre gifts can be donations to organisations like Good Return? Or try and find wedding suppliers like Sail and Swan who are already donating to great causes like this. It’s a great feeling knowing that even your own small contribution can have such a long lasting impact in someone else’s life. Making a Difference with Microfinance can be easier than you think!
- Not a bride? Sail and Swan also support a sponsor child in the Philippines and local charities based in South Australia. If you buy any of our non-wedding products, then you are helping us to contribute these causes as well!