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The mothers in B’edaya have more than money to smile about.

Money, money, money. It’s easy to think of microfinance only in those terms.

But the surprising thing is how our B’edaya microfinance initiative is changing lives in ways that go far beyond money.

No one explains this better than Salma. She’s the mother of a child in our Not Alone program for fatherless children. Of course, we’re constantly looking for ways to equip these mothers with the tools to achieve financial independence. B’edaya is one of those ways.

Salma was able to start an in-home grocery store thanks to a B’edaya loan. Like all the mothers who receive a loan, she’s also received training in how to plan, start, and run a small business. Today, her earnings put bread on her family’s table.

Being involved with B’edaya, she told me recently, has “meant the world” to her.

“It’s made my daughter proud of me,” were her exact words.

Salma’s words echo what I’ve heard from many others among the 30 mothers in Sohag, Minya, Alexandria, Monofiyya, and Cairo who received the most recent round of B’edaya loans in 2014.

Over and over, their descriptions of B’edaya reflect wider impacts on their lives: stronger family unity, greater self-worth, an increased sense of confidence and direction.

Salma reminds me that when you and I partner to equip these smart, strong mothers with the tools to break the cycle of poverty, the least we should hope for is financial success.

The ultimate outcome, God willing, is widowed mothers who — perhaps for the first time in their lives — feel fulfilled, valuable, and in control of their destiny.

In March of 2016, we will kick off a new round of B’edaya loans. We want to reach even more mothers in this round — a total of 50. We’re gearing up for that round, so that we achieve our goal of empowering these women and their families through microfinance.

I look forward to keeping you up to date on this exciting new round. And to everyone who’s gotten behind B’edaya, thank you, as always, for your support. As Salma says, it means the world.

*Name and image changed to protect the privacy and dignity of the participants in our programs.