Children's book teaches concepts of microfinancing

A Sister of the Most Precious Blood of O'Fallon has written a children's book that she hopes will help people understand the complex topic of microfinancing.

Sister Antoinette "Toni" Temporiti has published "One Potato Two," the story of Mumbi, a young African girl whose mother is able to feed the family thanks to a potato-selling business that was begun through a microfinancing loan.

In 2006, Sister Toni founded Microfinancing Partners in Africa, a St. Louis-based nonprofit organization that provides assistance to strengthen and expand microfinancing programs in Africa.

Inspired by her annual trips to Africa, Sister Toni spent one sleepless night writing the story on microfinancing, which is based on actual events, from a child's point of view. The 36-page book was illustrated by Maria Allen-Koerner, a St. Louis artist and former art teacher at Incarnate Word Academy.

"Microfinancing is a big topic, and whenever I try to understand something, I go to the children's book section," Sister Toni said in a news release on the book. "I meet children like Mumbi each time I go to Africa. They are bright, wise beyond their years and so gracious that they would gladly give a guest their last bit of food," she said.

Through its work, Microfinancing Partners in Africa (MPA) empowers those living in extreme poverty to lift themselves up with dignity through access to financial services and education. The organization's current partners are located in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Payback rates of microloans through MPA's Kenyan partner, Jamii Bora, is 98 percent.

MPA states that its vision is that "when people can provide for their needs both within their families and within their communities, peace can happen. We're not fixing what's broken so much as we're setting the stage for people to rediscover their innate dignity."

MPA supports partners that follow the microfinancing model of Professor Mohammad Yunus, who recently received the Congressional Gold Medal in honor of his groundbreaking microfinance work and his pioneering efforts to eradicate global poverty. Yunus is one of only seven people to have received the Congressional Gold Medal, as well as the Nobel Peace Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

MPA also has joined in a worldwide effort to halve the number of people living in extreme poverty by the year 2015.

One of the projects MPA is involved in is the Masaka Diocese Dairy Organization Cow Project. Founded by Bishop John Baptist Kaggwa, the "Cow Project," as it's nicknamed, has provided hundreds of diary cows to Ugandan families through a loan process. The cows provide a source of milk as well as waste products that can be used for biofuel for electricity and fertilizer for banana and coffee bean crops, both of which are staples in the area. MPA began fundraising efforts for the existing project in 2009.

"One Potato Two" is for sale at $15.99 per copy through CreateSpace. Visit All proceeds from the sale of this book benefit Microfinancing Partners in Africa.

For more information on Microfinancing Partners in Africa, go to

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