Orphaned and uneducated, Felicia Nimo had to struggle to make her way in life. Adopted along with her siblings by her aunt, she took her place at her aunt’s petty trading business. There, she learned the business, working there until she married.
Felicia opened a “chop bar,” and life was rosy until her husband fell seriously ill and was unable to work. The burden of supporting the family fell upon Felicia. Stretched between family and business obligations, her business suffered, and customers went elsewhere.
Then, her sister suggested she join a Sinapi Aba Savings and Loan group. With nothing to lose, she did.
Sinapi Aba Savings and Loan is a UNCDF/MicroLead partner, dedicated to serving micro-businesses and alleviating poverty. With assistance from its technical service provider, Opportunity International, and from MicroLead, the institution has set up a point-of-sale (POS) distribution channel for their mobile banking team to provide doorstep banking, so it can more easily reach rural clients like Felicia. Sinapi Aba can now provide daily deposit services for its customers for value as low as 1-2 Ghana Cedis (the equivalent of 0.25 - 0.50 USD).
The loan officer in charge of Felicia’s group took the participants through a four-week orientation covering a series of topics – from credit to business basics. After she successfully completed the financial education modules, Felicia received a loan in the amount of GH¢ 400, which she invested in her business.
But the assistance from Sinapi Aba was much more profound than merely credit. The business tips she received from the loan officer helped her develop a new business idea. Felicia saw that there was no filling station in her community, so she decided to open one. With Sinapi Aba’s help, she was able to start small, buying gallons of fuel such as petrol, diesel and kerosene from the nearest town and selling it to commercial vehicles. Since hers is the only business selling fuel in her community, sales are strong. Not only has she helped her family, but she’s also providing a great service to the surrounding communities.
Like many microentrepreneurs, Felicia looks to security through business diversification. When her daughter completed junior high school, Felicia started a table-top trading business in front of her house for her daughter to manage until her school scores arrived. There, her daughter sells tomatoes, garden eggs, oil and other items.
Felicia paid off her first loan as scheduled. Almost immediately she took out a second, larger loan of GH¢ 600 from Sinapi Aba to expand the three businesses she now operates. Felicia is also able to save daily, leveraging the doorstep banking facility that Sinapi Aba’s roving bankers provide. Saving in small amounts helps her to not only accumulate funds towards her loan repayment but most importantly to maintain a savings “cushion” in case she faces an unexpected crisis.
“Sinapi Aba is a godsend,” says Felicia. “Even though my husband is not well enough to support me financially, my family is still enjoying a normal life without any struggle, and my children are having the best educations. All thanks to Sinapi Aba.”