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Snapshot: Comfort in the Storm « International Aid Services America

A customer enjoys a meal at one of Comfort Kusiwaa’s two food vending locations.

Many of us have experienced what it is like to live on the edge. The edge is that perilous place where one worries about how to pay the mounting bills, wonders if there will be enough money left at the end of the month for the children’s clothing, and questions whether there will even be food for the table. If you have walked this road, then you understand the stress of living under these circumstances.

Comfort Awiah and Comfort Kusiwaa (not related), are both women from Ghana who have experienced the storm of living on the edge. They’ve also experienced the joy and relief of a helping hand-up, which has boosted them in their climb out of poverty.

Comfort Kusiwaa is a mother of three children who fell into trouble in her attempt to support her family through farming. Comfort struggled to make a profit growing both cassava and plantains, in part due to extremely low market prices during the harvest season.

As Comfort had difficulties in her enterprise, her namesake, Comfort Awiah, was experiencing similar challenges in her start-up business selling clothing. In fact, things were becoming so desperate for Comfort Awiah that she was barely able to make school fee payments for her eight children, and feeding the family was becoming an almost impossible task.

Both women were on the edge, living day to day, meal to meal, with little hope of things improving for themselves or their families. But often in our most vulnerable state, in the midst of our darkest circumstances, we see God intervene in the most miraculous of ways. It was at that point in Comfort Awiah’s and Comfort Kusiwaa’s journeys that they were introduced to the Africa Assistance Plan (AAP) microfinance program, sponsored in part through IAS.

“Give to the one who asks you,
and do not turn away from
the one who wants to borrow from you.”

Matthew 5:42 NIV

Comfort Awiah and her family are now prospering, thanks in part to IAS assistance.

Today, because of the availability of a small business loan for both women, Comfort Awiah and Comfort Kusiwaa are prospering. When asked how she was assisted through the loan program, Comfort Kusiwaa said, “AAP and IAS’s microfinance program granted me immense support, which has enabled me to start a food vending business in two different locations. Patronage to my business has increased tremendously.  Thanks to AAP and IAS for the selfless support offered me through this life-changing program.”

In the months ahead, Comfort Kusiwaa hopes to expand her business to another location and also begin offering a food delivery service to offices.  Her sister in business, Comfort Awiah, has done equally well. In addition to expanding her clothing enterprise, Comfort Awiah has also been able to invest some of her profits into other ventures, which are proving to be quite successful.

Thanks in part to your participation, these women have experienced the comfort of capacity-building assistance in the midst of life’s storms.  Without your generous help, funding would not be available for IAS’s business programing in Africa.

In her closing interview, Comfort Awiah said it best. “Thanks to AAP and IAS and their partners abroad for the great opportunity and relief brought to me and my husband. We will forever be grateful.”


Douglas Mann
President, IAS America