With support from the ACHIEVE project, a mother in South Sudan provides for her children

September 12, 2023
Cecilia sells food at a shop she started after receiving a loan from a savings group through the ACHIEVE project. Credit: Peter Mawora/Jhpiego

Cecilia, 57, is a mother of nine children who is living with HIV in Juba, South Sudan. One of her children, 13-year-old Oboma, is also HIV-positive.

Cecilia struggled to meet her family’s basic needs, such as food, medical care and the children’s school fees, until she was connected with the USAID-funded Adolescents and Children HIV Incidence Reduction, Empowerment and Virus Elimination (ACHIEVE) project.

ACHIEVE includes an orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) program that identifies and supports children and adolescents living with HIV. ACHIEVE connected with Cecilia while she was seeking care at Juba Teaching Hospital. Through her enrollment in ACHIEVE, she has been able to turn life around for herself and her children. ACHIEVE provided the family essential case management services, as well as parenting classes for Cecilia and education support to cover school-related expenses for Oboma.

Additionally, Cecilia was provided with the opportunity to join the ACHIEVE-supported Savings and Internal Lending Communities (SILC). This helped Cecilia strengthen her economic status through financial literacy and saving. 

In the SILC savings group, care givers such as Cecilia are encouraged to save and start their own income-generating businesses. They divide themselves into savings groups of 12 to 15 members and set a routine savings culture that members follow. At the end of each year, the profits from their businesses are shared among the group members. The savings groups also provide social fund loans for members in case of emergencies such as illness.

Through the SILC, Cecilia began selling food such as tomatoes, onions and cooking oil. She now has a small shop near her home with a variety of both perishable and nonperishable goods that she sells to her community. Cecilia’s business continues to grow. She now earns $5 to $10 USD per day, which provides for her family’s needs.

“In the future, I want to own a big shop and stock my goods in large quantity,” Celia said. “I am certain I will achieve my goals through the SILC Saving Group.”

Cecilia’s family, along with 183 other families, can now look to a more financially stable future because of the support they received from ACHIEVE’s OVC program and its SILC savings group. This helps caregivers like Cecilia and their families to be strong, healthy and resilient and to protect others from HIV. To date, ACHIEVE has supported 215 SILC members, where 531 individuals in the households of the SILC members have benefitted directly from the savings and lending activities.