> Self Help Groups

>Our visits to the Self help group in DeshaBarchi today proved to be quite eye opening for our Bajalia team. We added a couple, who met us here in Afghanistan from Canada, Megan and Peter who are looking to work longterm with Bajalia. So our team of 5 tracked through the mud after our car got very stuck in ditch/sewer. Michael and Peter along with our driver and many men from the village helped get it out while the women hiked the muddy alleys (streets) to arrive at our meeting place. The self help groups take place in a home of one of the members and they each brought their dues of 20 afghani, roughly 56 cents. They had recently increased their dues from 10 afghanis, or 28 cents. It sounds like such a small amount but we learned that these women were making each other loans from the dues and there was 100% payback since it was their money. There had been several businesses started and some women had even borrowed for their husbands and sons businesses. We were impressed with the amazing work of the NGO we were working with, ORA International. ORA stands for Orphans, Refugees and AID.We were there to talk about the women starting additional businesses for handcrafts and embroideries. We brainstormed ways to bring these groups more economic development since the structure is already in place.

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