Micro Loans Transform Lives of Vulnerable Women
Power of Love’s micro loans program provides small loans ($150-175), business training and ongoing support to loan recipients. These loans and training transform lives of vulnerable women impacted by HIV and AIDS in Zambia. Given below are stories of two women, Agnes and Priscilla, who received loans in 2017 and 2018 and are currently receiving ongoing training and support. Both women worked hard to become successful entrepreneurs. Now they are educating and encouraging other women to start businesses and take control over their lives.
Agnes is the sole caregiver for five dependents - three children and two others. She is divorcee but does not get any support from her ex-husband. She received business training and a loan in December 2017. With loan funds she started a business selling vegetables that is doing well. She has successfully completed repayments on two loans and is now on her third loan. She has learnt to save a small amount each week and is comfortable with mobile banking.
Agnes is now a mentor for new loan recipients. She told our loan officer that she is happy to mentor others as owning a business was the best thing that happened to her. She appreciates the loans program for being there for her when life was becoming meaningless and she needed support. In her words, “I never used to do anything before receiving a loan. I don’t know how I would have managed without this program. My vegetable stand helps support my children and family. The business training provided helped me to move on because one of the components talks about women being able to become self-reliant in case, they become a divorcee or a widow”. She said that through this program God has fought battles for her. My prayer is that don’t stop doing good by helping the women in society because they are the most vulnerable if not empowered to be self-sustained. God keep blessing this organization so it can help many more women in need”, adds Agnes.
Priscilla: Priscilla is a 31-year old divorcee and the sole caregiver for her two children. After her divorce (her husband does not provide any support) she started living with her parents, but life was difficult as she had no source of income. She became a burden on her parents and other siblings and was asked to move out. For a few months, she lived with a friend who introduced Priscilla to our micro loans program. She received business training and a loan in 2018. Loan funds helped her start selling fritters (a fried snack) by the roadside. Today, she is a happy young woman as she is renting a place of her own, can provide three meals for her family, and her oldest child started school in January 2019. She added soft drinks to her assortment when she received a second loan and is on schedule with repayments.
We are proud of women entrepreneurs, like Agnes and Priscilla, who are working continuously to overcome challenges such as poverty and disease in their communities. They are role models as they share their knowledge and experiences with others, in the community. In the long run, this leads to improved gender equality and cultural change.