Katie Smith Milway’s One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference tells the story of Kojo, a young boy from Ghana in West Africa. He borrows a little money to buy a single hen. With the eggs she lays, he buys more hens. And more hens. As his farm grows, Kojo is able to spread his wealth throughout the community, providing loans to encourage other people to succeed.
One Hen is based on the true story of Kwabena Darko, who worked on a chicken farm in Ghana when he was a boy. As in the book, Darko’s big break came when a banker took a chance and gave him a loan. According to the NPR story:
650 people now work at his farm and he has granted small loans to entrepreneurs such as bakers, dressmakers and traders in his own community. His repayment rate? 98 percent.
I love the idea of microlending and the way it combines community-based and community-centered finance with good old-fashioned entrepreneurism and free enterprise. I was raised in a family of entrepreneurs, and have seen first-hand how a small business can open doors to financial prosperity, not just for the owner, but for those the employees, as well.
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