My name is Mrs. Mary Ballovi. I am married with five children and my husband, Codjo Edah, is a farmer. I joined The Hunger Project’s Microfinance Program at Kissamey Epicenter in Benin in 2004 and, with nine other women, created the Missinhou microfinance group.
My main responsibility in the group is to manage the storage of food to be used later for resale.
Before joining the Microfinance Program, I had never imagined making an income or even dared to speak in public. Now I am President of our group and Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Kissamey Epicenter fund.
One day, I attended a workshop at the epicenter organized by the Microfinance Program about the ”fundamental rights of women.” I realized that, even though I am married, I am not the property of my husband and I had to keep my own identity. That’s why I now carry two names: Mary Ballovi, my birth name, and Vick Dongbeton, my married name.
The last workshop I attended was on the theme: ”Change your mindset to grow.” I really understand the scope of the words we sing every day: Changing Mindset, Leadership, Vision, Commitment, Sharing.
As a member of the Board and the epicenter, I understand that it is essential to work hard to free ourselves from poverty.
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March 31, 2011