Our Zambian sisters would like to thank you for your continued caring and dedication to support them as they learn entrepreneurship skills and take steps toward self-reliance. In the first five months of 2022, 430 women received training in business. In the upcoming months, our plan is to provdie business training to an additional 483 women and new loans to 115 women to bring the total number of number of women trained in business to 883 and the number of active loans to 665 by December 2022. This is in addition to ongoing refresher training, business mentoring, and business monitoring provided. As a result of these program activities most businesses are doing well despite COVID, and rising prices for food and fuel.
Given below are stories of two women whose lives have been transformed since joining our micro loans program. These women inspire me and give me a reason to work hard every day. The businesses run by women are diverse and range from vegetables and grocery stands, used clothing, used shoes, blankets, school uniforms, dress making, bed sheets etc.
Candy (name changed) is 35 years old and the sole caregiver for her mother and four children. She enrolled in our loans program last January, completed business training and received a loan to start a business. Prior to starting the program, she said, “at first I was living in fear to start a business as I’ve never done anything without a fear of failure”. However, she gained confidence during business training and with encouragement from our team, she started selling used clothes. With hard work and application of business principles, (such as sorting used clothes on quality and pricing them accordingly, choosing a good location etc.) her business is doing well. She is on track with repayments on her first loan and will receive two more loans, refresher training and ongoing business mentoring for the next 18-20 months. Candy is happy that earnings from her business have resulted in a better diet and improved health for her family. In addition, she can now pay for water, electricity, and medicines. She is excited to continue to provide for her family, save more, and become a role model for others in her community.
Sue (name changed) is a 39-year-old widow and the sole caregiver for her six grandchildren. There are nine people in her household (six grandchildren and two children). She has two other children who are living elsewhere and dependent on relatives. Sue enrolled in our micro loans program in Sept 2021. She says that after completing business training she understood how she can increase earnings by purchasing/selling items, such as fruit/grains based on prices and costs. She used loan funds to expand the assortment of seasonal fruit and grains that she sells at the Tuesday market. After successfully repaying her first loan, she is on track with repayments on her second loan and will receive a third loan in the next few months. Currently, Sue is working hard to increase her savings and capital. She is being mentored by one of the graduates of this program. Sue is happy to be part of our loans program as it has helped her put food on the table.