Five Talents equips and empowers the poor with innovative microfinance programs, business training seminars and spiritual support.
Five Talents is a non-profit microfinance institution (MFI) that draws its mission from Christ’s parable of the talents in Matthew 25. We establish microcredit and microsavings programs in Africa, Asia and Latin America among impoverished communities that banks and for-profit MFIs often ignore. We also organize literacy and financial education training for communities and work with the local Episcopal Church to ensure the communities have spiritual support.
Fighting poverty is not about us. We like to build connections, not structures. Unlike some other poverty-fighting initiatives, Five Talents is distinctly connected to stable, non-governmental organizations in the countries it serves, bolstering existing networks from which continued services can be made available. We prefer not to reinvent the wheel, which keeps program cost down, and program impact up!
Our partners on the ground not only know their communities, but have served them well over the years. With a deep knowledge of each country’s history and people, language and customs, these partners have the relationships and capacity to extend Five Talents’ unique savings and microcredit programs to their people. They are known, trusted, and respected, and we are grateful for the opportunity to come alongside them to provide funding and training to bolster the good work they already do.
Natalana Ahok, South Sudan
“It wasn’t too many years ago, that I became the fifth wife of my husband. You see, in South Sudan, many Dinka men have multiple wives.
“Shortly after getting married, I became pregnant, and before I knew it, I was the mother of five little boys. But being the last of my husband’s wives made me somewhat of an outcast. There was no money to pay for my sons’ school fees. We barely had enough to eat, and I was looked down upon in my home village of Lietnhom.
“So, in 2007, I decided I would try to sell a few household items in a little shop to help make ends meet. But I am illiterate, had no training, no business experience, and had difficultly making a profit from my little business.
“So, when I heard later that year that business skills training was being offered by Five Talents and its local partner, I enrolled in the adult education class immediately! Before I knew it, I had been given my first loan for $75 from the Five Talents partner Amat Wuot Community Bank in Lietnhom. You can’t imagine my excitement! So I used that loan to buy a small freezer so that I could sell cold soft drinks, which as you might imagine are very popular in South Sudan. I have since taken out and repaid three additional loans and now have two businesses – a restaurant and a household goods shop.
“But it was two years ago, when the most amazing thing happened – I was named chairlady of the village bank. A bank with 565 members. The bank where I took out my first-ever loan. And, the first bank in our entire county.
“As chairlady, I addressed the entire community at the bank opening. I told everyone how important it is to educate girls and through my speaking, everyone could see what a woman can do!
“I just can’t stop talking about this program. It is one of the most important programs I have seen in my life. And, it is changing Lietnhom!
“With the profits from my businesses, I have been able to send all five of my sons to school, and I challenge the other women in the village to attend the adult education classes and to start businesses so that they too can provide for their families.”