What $100 can do in Africa
Jim sent an email over the weekend which gives a great insight into what sort of economic impact a $100 saving can have on a family in Tanzania. It certainly puts things into perspective and serves as a great motivator for us to reach our goals. I’ve re-printed it below:
I have been thinking about the $100 savings that will be made per family per light. The group has asked what the money will be used for. While waiting for Ediths reply, I have two experiences of what $100 can do in Tanzania. I tell this only to show that $100 can make a massive difference to a family over there and so very much more than we can appreciate.
My daughter and I both sponsor boys on each side of the Pare mountains through World Vision. On a trip to climb Kilimanjaro we visited our sponsored children. At the end of the trip we decided to leave $100 for each child and asked the director what the money would buy.
The boy I sponsor, Ali, is fairly well off by Tanzanian standards, the children were living with the grandparents. They all sleep in 1 room. Their mother worked in a pub and slept there. She cannot live with the children as her brother was still living at home and it is against thier custom for a brother and sister to sleep in the same room after they reach a certain age.
World Vision said that they could could buy a small plot of land 10 meters by 10 meters for Ali to build a house on when he grew up. This seemed great so I agreed and paid the $100. When WVision contacted the family, the Grandfather was offended that a stranger was doing this. He had 10 acres of land and promptly cut 1 acre off for Ali himself. Previous to this Ali was not in contention for land as he was a son of a daughter.
Land and such things are only for sons of sons so he inherited only because of this $100.
The $100 was still available and Alis mum presented WV with a business idea which they endorsed. She used the $100 to rent a space on the side of the road in the village and to build a small stall on it.
She used the rest of the money to hire an auto to drive to the Same fruit market where she purchased fruit and vegetables to sell to the local villagers who cannot get to the market. On another visit 8 months later we saw her stall in action and she is now financially independent. She is saving $10 per month in the hope that in 2 years she can rent a shop and her children can live with her.
On the second visit it was also explained to me that in her job as a barmaid if a client did not pay his bill at the end of the night that she had to pay for it.
She was able to escape this work and all this for $100. Nicky’s sponsored child named Ramadan lived in a mud hut that was made of sticks, with gaping holes. The parents and 4 kids slept in one room on the same mattress.
The roof was tin cans that were flattened out and laid like tiles but leaked terribly. The door was a curtain. The result was the children were always sick and getting them treatment always took any spare money the family had. A real catch 22.
At our time of visiting the families crop of maize had failed and both parents were working 10 hours a day for a neighbour. Their payment was 2 bowls of maize powder which was all the family had to eat. WV said that $100 would buy new roofing sheets, lumber and a tradesman to put a new roof on the shack.
We agreed on this but when the new sheets of roof arrived the family said it was too good for their shack. The family 2 adults and 4 kids then made 2500 mud bricks off site and carried them to their land.
These are blocks as big as a besser block and they made them with clay, water and straw and baked them in the sun.
When WV saw how much effort this family had gone to in making these bricks they gave them a builder and built them a proper house. A real house with a real door. I have the before and after pictures and it is amazing. Once again all this came from a $100.
The picture I am trying to paint is that with $100 saving per year the results per family are so great that we will never imagine the impact.
Tanzanians are resourceful and so community minded that we cannot comprehend the difference it will make.
Primary schooling is compulsary in Tanzania and although supposedly free it still costs to send kids to school. Jail terms are applied if you don’t send kids to primary school.
The child I sponsor is 10 now and speaks 3 languages, Pare, Swahilli and English. Education is a constant problem cash wise for families there.”
- 1 Alleviate poverty Reduce poverty by saving 25% of household costs!
- 2 Health benefits removing toxic and dangerous kerosene from households
- 3 Prevent fire hazards Kerosene lamps are leading cause of house fires
- 4 Enabling education Students can study better & longer, more money for books
- 5 Save our planet Stop global warming, deforestation and pollution
- 6 Increase income Light at night can create additional income streams
- 7 Empowering women LED lights create a brighter future for women and girls
- 8 Empower communities Light generates joint income, offers new possibilities
- 9 Increase safety bringing light in houses and community
- 10 Solar education Teach students and entrepreneurs about solar