Thanks as always for your support for our work in the area of women's empowerment and community strengthening in Zambia. As you know our goal is to empower women by teaching them marketable skills so they can take better care of their families, keep their children in school, and become role model for others in the community. Today, we would like to share the achievements of our women entrepreneurs:
- A record number of 150 new businesses were launched in 2016.
- A record number of 372 women completed business training since November 2015. This implies that 372 new women are working hard to take better care of their families, and take steps toward self-reliance.
- Business Club: Some of our graduates formed a business club with the goal of mentoring current loan recipients whose businesses are not doing well and encouraging others. Proud of these dynamic ladies.
- Higher value items: Many women have started businesses with higher value items such as jewelry, bed sheets, pre-paid cell phone cards, wedding accessories etc.
- Repayment rates: Repayment rates continue to be in the range of 90-92% in spite of the difficult circumstances of our loan recipients. Most loan recipients are taking care of family members living with HIV, and many are HIV+ themselves. In addition, many loan recipients are grandmothers taking care of multiple orphaned grandchildren.
- Businesses in the community: More than 300 businesses are being run by women who have graduated from our program over the last 8-10 years. These women continue to work hard to build their capital and expand their businesses. Businesses run by graduates are in addition to the 372 businesses being run by current loan recipients.
Women enrolled in our laons program are gaining confidence in running their businesses, and making their community stronger by teaching other women the importance of keeping children in school and the value of self-reliance. We are proud of each and every one of our women entrepreneurs.