Mr. James Yak understands the power of success. It starts with an idea – sometimes something as simple as charging people’s cell phones for a fee. It’s an idea that might sound ridiculous to your average American, but in a country and region where most live without electricity while nonetheless owning cell phones, it’s an idea bordering on genius.
James Yak standing in front of his IAS-financed cell phone battery charging business in the Akuem market, Bahr el Ghazal, South Sudan
James is the chairman of his local micro-finance group in Akuem, Bhar el Ghazal, South Sudan. The program, started by IAS in 2009 and managed by IAS partner Christian Agenda for Development (CAD), now empowers people in Bhar el Ghazal and other regions of South Sudan.
The IAS microfinance program in Sudan sprang from a core organizational belief: people in desperate poverty need more than temporary relief – they need a strategic investment in their lives that will provide for their needs for years to come.
When a small amount of business training and a small amount of business capital are the only things standing between hard-working men like James and success, an investment from IAS can bridge that gap. Financing men like James is a sustainable and respectful approach to caring for the poor as we share Jesus’ love through both word and deed.
Microfinance is proving to be an effective poverty alleviating tool throughout Africa. In addition to our Sudan microfinance program, IAS also has an extremely successful microfinance partnership in Ghana with the organization Africa Assistance Plan (AAP). Additional IAS target countries like Ethiopia are ripe for microfinance institutional investments. IAS is limited only by the amount of capital we have available to start such programs.
“Those who give to the poor will lack nothing,
but those who close their eyes
to them receive many curses.” Proverbs 28:27
Today, James Yak’s cell phone charging business is successful and thriving. James has long since paid back the loan – now he pays for his children’s school fees as well as the general support of his family.
James Yak at work
Teaching men like James to fish (and loaning them fishing poles) is our passion, because we have seen the far- reaching effects: more education, improved diet and health, community empowerment, resilience in the face of disasters, and the ability to sustain oneself and help others. Through the testimonies of countless men and women like James, the poverty-shattering results of microfinance loans are undeniable.
Asked about tomorrow, James dreams of expanding his cell phone charging business into other locations. He also plans to include the sale of cell phones in his shops. But that’s tomorrow. Today, James is content seeing his family thrive as a result of his idea and hard work.
In Africa, IAS microfinance programs are making one-time investments become long-term, life-changing solutions for men like James and other budding entrepreneurs. Often simple tools and smart solutions are all that’s needed to break poverty’s grip on the world’s poor.
Be sure to read this month’s letter from Douglas Mann, President of IAS America: “A Word About: The Power of Success.”
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