Increased household income as a primary agent of change

September 30, 2014

Just Hope International is focused on helping extremely poor people gain access to a better life they chart themselves. A better life often includes access to more food, medical services and school fees for their children.  Once the basic needs of food and water have been met, we believe the greatest potential for real, lasting change in the poorest parts of the world lies in a family’s ability to earn income.

We recently asked Sierra Leoneans who work with Just Hope about the effects of employment and income on their lives.  Prior to working with Just Hope, some had zero income and farmed solely to raise a crop to eat. Some had greater income in total at times, but it was spotty, delayed or infrequent.

Regarding the effects of income, Mohamed Amara, a long-time employee of Just Hope, said, “My kid brother is now going to school.”  Patrick Kalokoh was previously only able to plant enough for his family to eat.  He said, “Now, I am able to (finish building my house) because I have a job and a salary at the end of every month.” Mohamed Sombie (pictured above), a young man who is caretaker for several members of his family, has been able to pursue a course on pastoral studies, education that gives him greater options for future employment.

Others have leveraged their income in an entrepreneurial way.  Abu Bangura is a former subsistence farmer.  When asked about the effects of income on his life he replied, “Now I am able to buy more seeds to extend my farming activities and take care of my family.”  Ibrahim Siaka explained that with the increased income he was able to buy a television and a generator,with which he is earning more money by showing movies and charging cell phones.

Sure, there are many cultural differences – some significant, some subtle.  I am often reminded that many people, when given the chance, are eager to improve their circumstances and willing to work hard.  I am also reminded that not all people are entrepreneurial.  Some are, and we seek to work with them.  Some aren’t, and we seek to work with them also.  As the old saying goes, “It takes all types,” no matter which continent you call home.