International (MNN) — A new
children's book tells the story of microfinance, and how one young Ghanaian
used it to transform his community. That
man is now part of the ministry of Opportunity International.
The story of One Hen is inspired
by the life story of Opportunity International's Dr. Kwabena Darko, chairman of
the Ghana board and member of the Opportunity International Board.
Book author Katie Smith Milway*
says, "It occurred to me that microfinance is just a terrific entry point
for kids into the world international development because it creates change
that any child that has run a lemonade stand can understand."
One Hen tells the story of
Kojo, a boy from Ghana who turns a small loan into a thriving farm and a
livelihood for many.
After his father died, Kojo had
to quit school to help his mother collect firewood to sell at the market. When
his mother receives a loan from some village families, she gives a little money
to her son.
With this tiny loan, Kojo buys a
hen. A year later, Kojo has built up a flock of 25 hens. With his earnings, Kojo
is able to return to school. Soon Kojo's farm grows to become the largest in
In addition to the book, Opportunity International has an interactive website, OneHen.org where
kids can be part of a virtual market. "Kids can actually invest the beads
they earn in entrepreneurs who are depicted in this virtual market, see their
stories progress as they are financed, and then, for every bead a child gives
online, it's going to trigger a small donation."
The site, which goes fully live
on May 9th, includes information for
parents to donate money, as well as curriculum and downloadable exercises for
teachers and librarians provided by publisher Kids Can Press, which brings the
book's teachings to life.
Kids learn that with one small loan, an
entrepreneur in a developing nation has the ability to build a business
and a future for her or his family.
In doing so, they begin to share
the hope of Christ. "I do think that building compassion and building
these kinds of values in kids is helping them touch a part of Christ that they
won't touch, at least North American kids, who are 'haves,' won't touch,
without really reaching out to 'have nots.'"
*About the author: Katie has coordinated community development programs in Africa and
Latin America for Food for the Hungry, consulted on village banking in
West Africa with World Vision and was a delegate to the 1992 Earth
Her first children’s book was Cappuccina Goes to Town. One Hen is her second book for children.