Starting a Christian micro-finance programme has been a long-time dream for OM Madagascar. In partnership with OM Hong Kong, this will soon become a reality.
As a result of the Madagascar political crisis in 2009, thousands of Malagasy people suffer from poverty, and the unemployment rate is spiralling upward. Many have little or no entrepreneurial skills and live on less than one dollar a day, making the future seem very bleak.
Plans to start the first Christian micro-finance programme in Madagascar on a large scale have been a long-time dream for OM Madagascar. In partnership with OM Hong Kong, this dream will soon become a reality.
OM Madagascar’s relationship with OM Hong Kong (HK) began in 2009 when OM HK asked the team to send information about a project that needed funding. OM HK, who raises funds locally through Hong Kong churches, did a fundraising campaign in 2010 and OM Madagascar received funds earlier in 2011.
“The preparation phase was long and difficult,” says OM Madagascar team member Elyse, referring to the micro-finance programme, “but we managed to put it fully on track. We partner with a local church and we hope to develop it further in working with more local churches.”
The project is called Poject Namana, which means “friend” in Malagasy. The marginalised people of Madagascar are not only economically isolated, but also socially isolated. The name “namana” describes the goal of OM Madagascar to not only financially help these people but also to become their friends and bring them out of social isolation.
Project Namana is a two-fold programme: one group will receive financial loans and training; the other group is geared toward young girls from the rural areas of Madagascar who have come to the city seeking employment. These girls come to be housekeepers but are often taken advantage of—financially and physically. Through Project Namana these girls will receive basic financial and economic training and biblical values to help protect their future.
The team plans to first start with a 50-person test pool in two separate communities. The participants will receive any amount from $10-100 US dollars, depending on their business plans. They hope to equip people both financially and spiritually as they receive training in entrepreneurial skills and biblical values.
Twenty people now benefit from the programme. “The goal is that within one year, the recipient will have established a viable business, be able to manage their own finances and provide for their families independently,” says Elyse.