Cosmo Al Porter introduced our speaker Rachel Akers, whose father happens to our President. Rachel used a power point presentation assisted with videos to inform us about MEDA – Mennonite Economic Development Association. This Canadian organization started in 1923 to help people in developing countries start their own business. Rachel spoke specifically of work being done in Myanmar.  Donors loan MEDA money which buys vouchers are distributed to people who can start businesses and are able to repay the loan. MEDA stays with the entrepreneurs providing guidance throughout the setup and ensuring that their business is functioning and sustainable.
MEDA’s tag line is: Creating Business Solutions to Poverty – Everyday
Philanthropists can make on-line loans which will be paid back as the recipient profits from their enterprise. The Federal Government matches the loans at a 7 to 1 ratio in part because every dollar raised goes to the program. MEDA uses funds from other programs to pay for the operating costs of this program. The Gates Foundation is a partner in this venture. To date 25,000 women have become business owners supporting their families