Nyingong Akuol Awach is a fifty-two-year-old blind widow and mother of two in the Aweil region of Northern Bahr El Ghazal, Southern Sudan. Mrs. Awach is a client of the IAS micro-finance program near Aweil, and a member of the Panapuoth lending center. She has become IAS’ most successful client in the manufacturing of groundnut (peanut) paste and vegetable sales in the local market.
Life did not seem as hopeful for Nyingong in 2009 before the IAS micro-finance program came to Southern Sudan. Having just lost her husband, Nyingong was forced to depend on her son for income, and she was often required to beg for food and money from friends and neighbors in order to survive. Today, in 2011, times have changed. Not only is Nyingong able to support herself and her children and grandchildren through her own efforts, but it is now her friends, neighbors, and extended family who beg for money, flour, soap and salt from her. In Nyingong’s own words, the IAS micro- finance program has become her “new husband” – providing the help she needed in her hour of desperation.
Nyingong’s success started from an initial loan of one hundred and fifty Sudanese Pounds (approximately fifty-five dollars). After undergoing intensive training for one month in micro-finance, business, savings, and other related topics, Nyingong received her loan as a member of the IAS Panapouth Center lending group. Today, after having successfully demonstrated her ability to repay her loans, Nyingong is receiving twice the amount of credit as when she began the program. This has significantly helped in expanding her groundnut paste manufacturing and vegetable sales.
When asked how she conducts her business in spite of her blindness, Nyingong explains that her little granddaughter guides her around to buy groundnuts, fry them, and then take them to the grinding mill to be processed into paste. Once this process is completed, Nyingong packages her product into small, individual bags which she then sells at the local market.
With Your Assistance,
Even Hope for the Hopeless is Being
Restored in Southern Sudan
Nyingong’s renovated home pictured here, completed just before the rainy season begins, and made possible by her hard work and an IAS micro-finance loan
Nyingong thanks the Lord for His provision in her life. After the death of her husband, with no money and no income, even relationships with her family members were strained due to everyone’s extreme poverty. Today, there is plenty of food in Nyingong’s home for children and grandchildren alike, and she loves the fact that they all visit frequently, giving her comfort and companionship once again.
In our recent interview with Nyingong, she went out of her way to expresses her heart-felt thanks to IAS and IAS supporters for starting such a wonderful program. But most of her gratitude was saved for the micro-finance loan officers who, in spite of her disability, believed in her capacity to succeed. Nyingong states, “They restored my hope in a life worth living.”
Just weeks ago while in Africa, I had the privilege of meeting with and praying for many of our micro-finance loan clients like Nyingong. It may seem strange to say, but the Lord is using micro-finance around the world not only to feed His children but also to build His Kingdom.
Stories like that of Nyingong inspire me to assist these precious men and women, most of them brothers and sisters in Christ. It is difficult to say where Nyingong would be today without your involvement in her life, but thanks to you, despite her blindness, Nyingong and her family do have a bright future.
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Andy Warhol once said, “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” I’ve found that sentiment to hold true in my life. Certainly there have been times when twists and turns took me by surprise or God’s providence opened a door that I didn’t see in front of me. [...] Read story