Standing Strong

In March 2014, we tasked a small, three-person film crew to capture the first-hand experiences of Trickle Up participants; women living in extreme poverty taking an incredible eighteen-month journey to defy the social, economic and environmental barriers which perpetuate poverty in its most extreme form. We travel from New York City to Ouagadougou, the capital city of Burkina Faso, a land-locked country below the Sahel in the center of West Africa. A further two hour drive from the capital we meet Mariam, Juliette, and Awa.
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Mariam: “My name is Mariam and I make pottery for a living.”

Mariam: “My name is Mariam Barry. I sell fried fish and couscous.”

Julieette: “I am Juliette Zida. I have a store, and I sell clothes necklaces and shoes. Before, I couldn’t even buy shoes for my children.”

Ouedraogo: “Now we can buy schoolbooks, medicine, and we put food on the table every single day.”

Juliette: “I’m also saving money now. I could not have done this without Trickle Up.”

Alexice: “Trickle Up’s mission is to eradicate poverty in its most extreme form. Typically we think of peole living in extreme poverty as those who live than less than 1.25 a day, but in actuality our participants live on much less, and what they’re doing every day is struggling to make ends meet. The trickle up program is an opportunity for them to change their lives. It starts out with a $100 grant. $100 might not seem like a lot, but in fact it’s a game changer.”

Juliette: “When I received my grant from Trickle Up, I bought clothing and products I could sell.”

Alexice: “Our women have vision for what they can do to get themselves out of the situation that they find themselves in. Our local implementing partners work with them so that they develop a business plan.”

Mariam: “With our grant, we purchased an oven to make our pottery.”

Alexice: “The seed capital grant injects new life into their ideas and to their ability to move forward.”

Awa: “I was able to buy ingredients in bulk to start my bakery.”

Juliette: “Trickle Up gave us the funds as well as the training to do our work.”

Alexice: “Our commitment to our participants is really something that sets us apart.”

Mariam: “Trickle Up taught me better ways to sell my food. I smile, I keep all my food covered, I season it just the way that customers want. I also sell fish at a discount – this way I can make a profit.”

Alexice: “What we try to teach them is how to distinguish themselves in the market.”

Juliette: “I always keep a large stock of shoes because they sell faster and make more money.”

Alexice: “We are creating successful businesswomen. In addition to the seed capital grants and to the skills training that they receive we also organize them in savings groups which provide them with a solidarity network. There’s a sisterhood that develops.”

Mariam: “With Trickle Up, we work together to support eachotehr. Before the program, things were hard.”

Juliette: “When my husband died, I was struggling alone. Now I can afford to send my children to school.”

Alexice: “Some of our participants have actually reached the point where they’ve made enough profits that they can make larger investments.”

Juliette: “My goal is to have a bike. If I had a bike, I could ride around the village faster and I am certain that I can sell more.”
Mariam: “Now I need my own restaurant so I can do more business. My customers love my food, they want me to sell it every day not just on the market days.”

Alexice: “The fish was very good. We’re so proud when we see examples like Mariam and Awa and Juliette, women who put everything that they’ve learned with Trickle Up into practice and it’s working. Those women are trickle up.”

Awa: “I’m very grateful to Trickle Up, they are the reason I’m here today.”

Alexice: “Trickle Up needs people to understand that 100 dollars can change a woman’s life. It can change her family’s life and improve the wellbeing of her community.”

Mariam: “My work is hard, but I love it.”

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