Minchinhampton - Nkokoto Link - December 2016
In the last two parish magazines, we've reported on the setting up of a micro-finance scheme, with approximately £2000 capital raised by Minchinhampton, to be run by the villagers and organised by the elders with professional advice from the regional Co-operative Officer Mussa and our trusted, hard working and long-standing friend Stima Hassan.
Well, the invitations to submit a business plan went out a few weeks ago, contracts were drawn up and the elders have awarded 32 loans to individual villagers - 18 women and 14 men. 27 loans were for roughly £80, one for about £60 and 4 for £40. Several villagers will be working together in co-operatives.
Stima just emailed and texted us (1st November) with details of examples of the businesses the villagers are setting up. Some are going to open little shops selling fish, beans, vegetables, onions, fruit, tomatoes etc. Others will be stocking up on goods such as soap, sugar, tea leaves, sweets, soft drinks to sell. One villager has set up a room with a television. He will be showing videos and football matches, and we understand that they saw a match involving Manchester United recently.
He writes: “As we go on with this project, we hope you may one day be able to increase the loan capital so that people can borrow money for bigger projects. The hard job to be done is visiting all the borrowers to see how they go with their businesses and encourage them to repay the loans. This job will take us up to the end of January 2017 when we expect the first phase to come to an end - all loans and service charges to be paid back." (The service charge is instead of interest which is not allowed to be charged to Muslims.)
This is all most encouraging and we wish all of the participants every success in their business ventures. We look forward to further news of how the scheme is progressing.
We shall again be decorating a Christmas tree for the festival at St Laurence's in Stroud. The festival launch is at 4p.m. on Sunday 27th Nov and St. Laurence’s church will be open for visitors every day until the following Sunday, 4th December when there will be a "Songs of Praise " at the church at 4pm that day. Do call in to see this magnificent and enormously varied display of trees decorated by many different local organisations, charities, schools etc
Here in Minchinhampton, there will be Christmas Eve carol singing at 12 midday under the Market House - do join us on this festive occasion when we hope to have a collection for Nkokoto.
I do hope you have already bought next year's diary, in which case you really should enter our next Gerry Robbins Murder Mystery "Indian Rhapsody" involving a tour group on an Indian holiday. Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th of March in the Market House - so look out for posters, contact your friends, get your tickets early and enjoy an entertaining evening with splendid food and good company.
Thank you so much for your support for the Link this past year helping us to help our friends in Nkokoto, Tanzania in so many ways - education, bikes, water supplies, solar lighting, health, agriculture and now businesses. We wish you a Happy and Peaceful Christmas.