“Donkeys and sugar cane are the economic engines of rural Haiti. Sugar cane is made into syrup for rum and sweetened drinks. Donkeys are the preferred method of transportation in rural areas where practically no one can afford a car or truck, and even, if they could, the roads are not paved and full of pot holes and large boulders, making driving slow and dangerous.“ Berteau Zephir, Microcredit Manager of MICAPPI.
St. Joseph’s microcredit program in Pignon, MICAPPI, assists poor women to purchase a donkey by offering them a donkey loan for $125 at 2% interest per year.
Each week the market women of Pignon, who make up the majority of our microcredit borrowers, travel from village to village selling their goods. Purchasing a donkey makes it possible for the women to travel to all the markets in the area (some as far away as 14 mile) to sell their goods. They now no longer need to carry all their goods on their heads risking eventual damage to the spinal column, and they can take along their babies. Many more goods can be carried, and with the increased income a mother’s dream of being able to send her children to school, to feed them three meals a day, and perhaps to have a tin roof on her home can be realized.
To date, we have given nearly 1000 donkey loans, and the donkeys have prospered, often reproducing for added value . Since donkeys are strictly speaking not income producing, women applying for donkey loans must have a business and have successfully paid back a previous loan or two.