In Bamako, Mali, the Muslim Hands team visits three widows who are beneficiaries of the Hope Shops program. Their shops are located at the neighbourhood market in the town of Torogorbougou.
The first shop owner we meet is 59-year-old Mama Sinayogou, a widow and mother to 8 children. Unable to afford the costs associated with a permanent stall, Mama Sinayogou would haul all her goods to the market each day, and then pack up all the unsold merchandise to bring it back home in the evening. With the gift of a permanent market shop, she is now able to lock up after work and offer twice as many products in her shop.
Tata Fofana, a 48-year-old widow tells us that she was never able to have children and that she relied on her husband's salary to support them both. After his sudden death in 2017, she grew worried about how she would be able to earn an income in an area with little economic opportunity for women. The gift of a Hope Shop has given Tata Fofana not only a stable income, but a new purpose and a way to stay connected to her community.
65-year-old Mamou Bagayoko tells us that she is sure without help, she would have never been able to set up a permanent market shop by herself. Mama Bagayoko makes a dua for the donor who enabled her to secure a sustainable source of income, giving her peace of mind and stability she didn't have before.
All three women tell us that these Hope Shops have secured their families financially and empowered them to earn a sustainable livelihood. In needy communities around the world, women just like the widows we met in Mali have the enthusiasm and skills needed to have their own small businesses but often lack the opportunity to put it into practice.
Donating to our livelihoods projects gives women the opportunity and freedom to support their families, giving them a path out of poverty and hope for a brighter future.