Power of Love's Microfinance program provides business training, loans, business monitoring, and advice to impoverished female entrepreneurs in Zambia. Over the last few years, our women entrepreneurs have built successful businesses despite battling difficult circumstances, namely trying to provide for their families and keep their children healthy and in school. As a result, they have started planning and saving for a better future. The women are now comfortable with budget planning and saving, concepts that were foreign to their culture just a few months back.
In addition, our women entrepreneurs encourage others in the community to go in for voluntary testing and counseling (VCT) to reduce the spread of HIV infection, start businesses, and take charge of their own lives, becoming role models and mentors for others in the community. This leads to substantive ripple effects in the community beyond the program participants themselves. The following women are two of our loan recipients that have forged successful businesses for themselves.
Monica: Monica is 32 years old with two children of her own and two from her late brother. One of her dependents is HIV positive. Before Monica joined our micro loans program, she was dependent on food from the church and could not afford to pay rent for her house, leading to frequent moves. Once she joined the micro loans program, she received business training and a small loan to start a business.
Monica opened a business selling vegetables and is now running a small drug store. At this time, she is able to pay for her children's school expenses. Since joining the program, Monica has been paying her rent on time she has been living in the same place for over a year. In addition, she has been able to almost double her capital. Monica is happy that she was able to join Power of Love's micro loans program and is looking forward to a bright future.
Winnie: Winnie is a 42 years old widow. She has six children and two other dependents and was finding it difficult to care for a household of nine people. After she lost her husband, Winnie had to pull her children from school and could only afford to feed her family one meal a day. Winnie sold vegetables when her husband was alive but exhausted all of her savings on her husband's illness. One of our women entrepreneurs informed her about our loans program and Winnie soon was enrolled. Winnie received business training and a loan to start a business - since then, her life changed for the better.
Since she started her business, Winnie's son has been enrolled in Power of Love's pediatric HIV care program. Winnie is now able to pay for school expenses and is able to take better care of her family. She travels to the Tanzania border, where buys clothes and shoes, and returns to sell them in her compound in Lusaka. Her business is doing well - she more than doubled her capital by the time she graduated out of our program. In the next few months, she plans diversify and expand her business by traveling to South Africa to purchase hardware to sell at home. Winnie has promised to come back and act as a mentor to other women in this program to show her appreciation for what she has been able to achieve as a result of the training and loan she received from this program.
Thanks again for supporting poor women entrepreneurs start and grow a business and take the first steps towards self-reliance.