Throughout the world, all mothers want to give their children everything, and they sacrifice in countless unseen ways to make it happen. As you each honor your own mom this Mother’s Day, allow us to share the story of a very inspirational woman, Adwoa Kwatemaa, one of nearly four million women who inspire Opportunity International to change everything for mothers around the globe.
Adwoa lives in rural Kofurida, Ghana, and is a mother of six and a grandmother. When Adwoa was widowed 12 years ago, she found herself penniless and desperate to support her children who were teens at the time. Like many of her neighbors, she began a small business. She sold cooking pots and utensils, carrying them on her head from house to house from sunrise to sunset. After three years of barely selling enough to put food on the table, Adwoa forced herself to keep the faith. An answer to prayer, a friend told her about Opportunity.
She gathered her friends together and they formed the Nyame Nity (Because of God) Trust Group to receive loans, training and mentorship to grow their small businesses. Her Opportunity business loan gave Adwoa the capital she needed to increase her income. She was able to take in two of her daughters and their children when their husbands went to a larger town in search of work. “These loans have transformed my life and that of my family,” she says. “I no longer have to beg people for food, and I can provide for my family. The community has come to respect me as a hardworking woman.”
Adwoa was now able to provide for her daughters and grandchildren but, as every mother does, she wanted even more for them. She worried about the state of her house: she did not have a front door, and her windows were empty frames. Without a man in the house, she was concerned for her family’s safety and about her business inventory. In addition, the mud and flies outside her front door were a constant threat to her grandchildren’s health.
A careful businesswoman, Adwoa did not want to divert her working capital to home improvement needs. When she turned to her Opportunity loan officer Sylvia for advice, Sylvia suggested a new Opportunity product: the housing improvement loan. With $400, Adwoa bought a strong front door with a lock, three windows with glass, and had the front of the house paved in concrete.
The transformation for her family was immediate and powerful. “With the windows, we can see in the room we live in, as the light comes through the glass. The door and lock have made us feel safe at night, and my life is easier because I don’t have to stay home to guard my business stock. And with the concrete outside, it is very clean and we can all sit outside and enjoy the fresh air. People now come and visit me because there is a clean place to sit and talk.”
Adwoa’s hard work has not only transformed her own life, but has also impacted the friends that she gathered to be in her Trust Group nine years ago. This mother gave her children and grandchildren the gift of a comfortable home, and an important hand up – a chance to break the generational cycle of poverty. As mothers are apt to do, Adwoa takes no credit but savors the joy. “I really feel that my life has been truly blessed by these loans. It is beyond my comprehension that my life has gotten so much better and I have to thank God for all these blessings and that He has let His light shine on me and my family.”
This year, Opportunity International offers you a way to celebrate the powerful women like Adwoa in your life. Create a tribute patch on the Global Opportunity Quilt at opportunity.org/honormom and make a gift that impacts the lives of women all around the world.