Not many people get to thoroughly enjoy their work whilst positively impacting lives and putting smiles on the faces of entrepreneurs living in poverty. I have worked for almost 16 years at Sinapi Aba Savings and Loans (SASL), one of Opportunity’s microfinance partners. My passion is to see and feel the positive effect my work and company is having on the lives of those living on the fringe of society.
I started at SASL as a loan officer, which afforded me the great honor of interacting with many disadvantaged entrepreneurs, individuals and families of all kinds and at all levels. In my line of work, my emotions range from completely heartbroken to fulfilled, creating in me a deep hunger to be a conduit to help all people: the destitute, wealthy, the financially dependent, financially independent, the undignified, dignified, the hopeless and hopeful. I want to help them grow and enhance their livelihoods so their children have the opportunity to attend school and have three square meals on the family table.
Recently, I travelled to a village in Tamale, Ghana, called Nasia—an otherwise picturesque community ravaged by poverty. The journey, though a long one, was exciting as I looked forward to visiting women rice farmers who were transforming their lives via financial empowerment, social empowerment and making informed decisions about themselves and their families.
I arrived at the meeting grounds with over 50 women farmers already seated, who erupted in traditional songs and dancing to welcome me. I was so moved that I joined in the dance! Later, I was given the opportunity to address the women leaders. I remember reiterating my passion to them: “Everyone has a talent, everyone has a need. Your ability to use your talent to meet an identified need gives you the opportunity to be unique and it makes you who you are, irrespective of your gender or where you live.”
It was refreshing to hear from the women how their confidence had been built through our financial support and training. One woman said she now has money to meet her basic personal needs and support her children with food and school fees. Needless to say, the journey back home was a fulfilled one…being fully assured that lives have again been transformed.
Joyce Owusu Dabo is Chief Programmes Officer at Sinapi Aba Savings and Loans - an Opportunity International microfinance partner in Ghana.