Extremely vulnerable individuals (EVIs) face scarcity of assets related to their physical condition. Islamic Help Tanzania defines EVIs as widows, extremely poor individuals living on less than a dollar day, persons with physical disability and HIV. Limited access to resources, stigma/abuse, negligence and discrimination are the common issues that they face. Due to lack of assets and skills, their exclusion and mobility problems, they are often unable to generate livelihoods for themselves and have to rely on family support.

In 2013, Islamic Help Tanzania established a Shariah-compliant microcredit service along Islamic concept of Qurz-e-hasna. The SACCOS project aims to provide microfinance services as a means of curbing entrepreneur challenges of savings, promoting small businesses and independence for those living in poverty.

IHT provides technical and financial support to EVIs (both men and women) to establish and manage small businesses (such as grocery shops, cafeterias, small hotels, agriculture loans etc.) that are sustainable and have a lasting impact on their lives. These enterprises are relatively small, have informal structures, require least mobility and flexibility, low capital needs, modest educational requirements, low labour intensity, and depend on local raw materials.

Through SACCOS small scale entrepreneurs can get up-to 500 USD of soft loans (Riba-free) to start businesses or expand existing businesses.

This way, already 320 small entrepreneurs have benefited from the credit services provided to them.

Emmanuel Raba- A story of determination

Emmanuel, a 50 year-old resident of Meka village in Pangani District is severely handicapped by polio. Because of his inability to feed his family of 8 people, his wife left him along with 4 children. Emmanuel, with his strong sense of determination, never gave up and kept on running a small business of selling cigarettes at his door step. He was barely making a half a dollar a day, trying to ensure that his children are provided with a minimum daily intake of food. Through Islamic Help livelihood project, he was given a small wooden shop and stock of groceries. After 6 months of his setting up shop, supported by Islamic Help, Emmanuel is earning from 6 up to 10 dollars a day, which made him one of the most affluent people in his village.

Emmanuel has a dream to remarry and send his children to a better school. He had many plans and ambitions which he could never accomplish because of his disability. Now, all that he is left with are the hopes which he holds for his children’s future.

He said, “I am sure that if my children are well-educated, there is nothing they can’t achieve and they will fulfill my dreams”. “I am extremely grateful to Islamic Help for lighting up my dark world”.