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This book is based on the life story of Kwabena Darko who rose from poverty to form the Sinapi Abu (Mustard Seed) Trust, which is part of the global nonprofit organization Opportunity International.
Kojo has to leave school to help his mother collect wood to sell at the market. This meagre income is all they have, until his mother receives a small loan through a micro finance organization in their village. She is able to buy a cart to carry more wood to sell. Kojo uses the remaining money to buy a hen that provides eggs that Kojo sells at the market. As Kojo earns more money his flock grows and soon he is able to return to school. Kojo graduates college and builds a large poultry farm which supports his family and his mother. As the farm prospers, the village thrives and eventually Kojo's farm becomes the largest in West Africa. One small loan not only made a huge difference in Kojo's life, but also positively affected the lives of many others in his community.
This book teaches students about the value of micro finance programs in poverty reduction. An amount as small as $10 can help several families through this type of initiative. One of the valuable aspects of this book is the associated website (www.onehen.org) that provides additional free resources such as videos, stories of micro entrepreneurs and free lesson plans. One lesson plan focuses on math problems based on Kojo's hens and eggs. Another activity has children writing letters to Kojo. The website would also be helpful in a social studies lesson that has students exploring and comparing life in Canada to life in Africa. Classes could also investigate the option of setting up their own micro credit agency to raise funds for an organization such as Opportunity International.
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