FINCA Educates and #empowHER Women in Haiti and The DRC

Education in the Global South – The Challenge

Children, particularly girls in the Global South face barriers that prevent them from accessing the right to an education. In low-income countries in this region, such as Haiti and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the lack of access to qualified teachers, hidden costs, such as uniforms and school supplies and the extreme distances children need to travel just to get to school – all these factors contribute to making education attainable.

Further, there are cultural barriers, including the fact girls are expected to stay home and help with the household chores, while their brothers go off to school. This has created a gender gap in the Global South which disproportionately favours men in jobs and education.

FINCA International and FINCA Canada have set a goal to break down these barriers by providing education and financial help for women who have dreams of independence and opportunity.

Access to education as a basic human right

According to UNESCO, girls are 2.5 times more likely to be out of school than boys in the Global South (UNESCO). Further, the United Nations Girls Education Initiative has stated that globally, 132 million girls are not provided with a formal education*.

With the present barriers to education, many children are unable to learn basic skills such as reading and writing. This prevents them from making decisions and truly advocating for themselves as they get older.

FINCA’s promise to educate and empower women – Charlotte’s Story

A wonderful success story is from one of FINCA’s current clients, Charlotte Assumani, who has been a client of FINCA for over 15 years at the Gombe branch in Kinshasa. Charlotte believes in the power of knowledge and created her own business running a restaurant and selling clothes to have the financial ability to send her daughter to school. As a military wife, Charlotte’s income could not cover the family’s basic needs. Not being able to pay for her children’s school, she had to do something to survive so she decided to start a small business.

Banks do not serve customers with no guarantee or collateral so the only financial institution that opened its doors for me was FINCA.

With FINCA’s help, she has successfully grown her business, created wealth, sent her kids to school, and employed other people.

I recognize the friendly relationship that exists with the FINCA employees who support us. I especially thank them for their financial literacy program which helps us to understand how we can efficiently manage our business.

FINCA does not just hand out money, they hand out knowledge of how to use it properly so one can live a sustainable and independent life. Charlotte continued by saying:

What makes me happy is that my restaurant has grown not only for myself and my children but also for my employees.  I now have 8 people working with me. They all have extended families of more than 4 members, so not only my family but also the lives of 32 other people depend on my business.

* Formal education refers to the institutionalized, intentional and planned public and recognized private organizations.

FINCA loans are made possible through partnerships and donations by generous donors.

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