Meet Soumaila, The Unstoppable!

During my borrower’s verifications, I met incredible borrowers with their own unique story of faith, survival and hope. But among them, one man’s story lingered with me and I could not shake his face off of my mind. The man was Soumaila; a small and humble man with an infectious smile.

Soumaila (in the middle) proudly showing his parcels
As soon as we arrived, he along with his group members escorted us to his gardens and proudly showed us his parcels filled with onions, hot peppers and papayas. But what struck me the most about Soumaila was his vibrant energy. He could not stop talking and swirling around and was beaming with pride as he walked us through the gardens.
One of Soumaila's gardens of hot pepper, papaya and onion
{C}After strolling around Soumalia’s gardens, we headed to his domicile and half way through, he stopped and looked at me and said “you know when we heard that a woman was coming to see us, we were frightened but after spending few minutes with you we feel very comfortable.
A group photo
{C}He then went on to say that one of his dreams is to expand his activities by transforming the bare land outside his compound into a big field of papayas. He stated that he is aware that a project of this kind might represent a challenge because it requires a lot of money but insisted that he will not allow his current disadvantaged circumstance stop him.
Soumaila with his wife and identical twin daughters in front of his compound
{C}Next, the always gracious and brave Soumaila proceeded to take us to his other parcels where he cultivates corns, onions and cabbage. He really is a hardworking man who performs long hours of labor duties but was quick to add that he has no intention of slowing down anytime soon. And his message to Kiva/MicroStart “I am very thankful to MicroStart/Kiva because the loan has helped increase my production and as a result, my life has greatly improved and I have been able to pay my children school fees without much difficulty"
Soumaila's other parcel where he grows onion and cabbage

About the author

Aminatou Diallo

A native of Guinea, Aminatou attended the University of Conakry where she developed an interest in research into the quality of water, a major issue in Guinea that led her to study for a degree in Inorganic Chemistry. Her first job upon graduating was with a non-governmental organization that provided capacity building support and other services to rural women followed by a managerial position in a major freight and logistics company; Distribution International Merchandise (D.I.M s.a). In 1994, she won a World Bank scholarship to enter the Master’s Program in Economic Policy Management (EPM) at McGill University. After completing her studies at McGill, she worked for the United Nations and Women’s World Banking in New York before joining the State of New Jersey in 2002. She has been working here for the past twelve years in different capacities and most recently as an Instructor Counselor with mentally challenged patients. While she has enjoyed her recent assignment, her true passion has always been the empowerment of women through access to finance and other services. Aminatou has always believed that, given access to microfinance, women can break free from the cycle of poverty. She is very excited to embark on this significant role as a Kiva Fellow to pursue her passion helping the poor, particularly women, attain self-sufficiency.