Judith Marko-A JUAf Success Story

JUAf Member Judith Marko


This Is Judith Marko’s Story


Five years ago, when JUAf first opened our gates, Judith, one of the villagers of Maweni, was approached by her street leader to become a member. She was 23-years-old, married, and living in a three-walled house made of sticks. She had no hope for her future and no direction for her life. She didn’t do much of anything, except grow the food that she and her husband needed to live.

Judith Marko's Previous Home

Judith’s Previous Home

When she learned about the microfinance loans that JUAf was offering, Judith decided to join. She recounted that, when she started going to the meetings, her “brain became bright and I thought of ways I can do business.” Through her interactions with the other members, and from the education offered to them via USAID, TAPP and the JUAf staff, Judith began to see a future for her growing family. She participated in the microfinance program and was able to rent land and purchase seeds. She began farming on a larger scale so that she could sell at the market on Wednesdays and Saturdays. When she didn’t have her own crops to sell, she learned how to buy produce from other local farmers to sell for profit. She even purchased 15 goats! She began to hope.

Although Judith now has a house with a roof, windows, and doors, her life is still extremely challenging. Like many men in the village, her husband suffers from alcohol addiction, leaving her to be the sole breadwinner in the home. He will sometimes sell the things she has bought for the family, such as the cement she purchased to finally finish her floors, so he can buy alcohol or cigarettes. He is sometimes abusive.

Living without electricity and running water is also very difficult. When there is no light, there is nothing to do when it gets dark but go to bed. If she had electricity, Judith could start a business charging cell phones for people who cannot afford electricity. In order to get clean water, she has to wake up at 4 AM to gather water from the nearby stream, or walk two miles each way to the nearest safe water tap, with her 40-gallon bucket, balanced on her head*. She has three children now and is doing it all on her own, a common story in this community.

The farthest Judith has ever traveled is to the city of Arusha, about a 1-hour bus ride from the village. Someday, she would like to visit the nation’s capital, Dar Es Salaam, or even Europe. She has heard stories about these places from visitors to the village. Her dream is to pay for her children’s education so they can leave the village. Judith’s parents were very poor and could not afford to send her or her brothers and sister to school.

We love Judith’s story! She is a strong, resilient woman and was able to raise herself up with just a little help from JUAf. This is our passion and our goal, to help women help themselves.

*JUAf supplies water to our members from our safe-drinking well, however we sometimes lack the funds to purchase enough petrol to run the pump that extracts the water from the well. As a result, sometimes our members have to find water in other areas.

Judith Marko's New Home

Judith and Asha Today

If you would like to help Judith and the other members of JUAf, click the donate button and help us continue to provide loans and support.

Be well, and thanks for your support,
Judi McAlpine & Asha Mruma
Founding Partners – JUAf

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