As part of my recent trip to Malawi, I met lovely Charity. She is a mother of 4 children – 3 girls and 1 boy. Charity is fortunate as she’s had the opportunity to put all her children through school.
Our welcome to her village started with a beautiful dance, songs and welcome from the local women and we were all happy to join in, when we could take our eyes off the gorgeous children who were amazed to meet all the nzungu (white people) who’d invaded their humble homes.
Some years ago, Charity had no business and no form of income. Today, she runs a hair salon at the local trading centre and employs 2 local women to work in her salon. The braiding to keep that incredible African hair under control is very popular!
Thanks to the SACCO (Savings & Credit Co-operative) introduced by The Hunger Project in her area, she was introduced to microfinance and had the opportunity to take out small loans. She was able to increase her shares in the SACCO as her income improved to continue to borrow more.
Aside from her salon, she has ivested in pigs, and has now bought and sold around 15. She currently has one left and 2 piglets.
Her largest loan to date is 100,000 Malawian Kwacha MKW (approx AUD $186.)
Like all true entrepreneurs, she’s staked it all, backed herself to get her family out of poverty and isn’t slowing down! Next step, she’d like a loan of 500,000 – 1 million MKW (AUD$929 – $1,858) to expand into a new hairdressing salon.
She has been able to influence 19 other women in her village so far to see the benefits of microfinance loans and couldn’t even begin to list all the benefits she’s personally seen so far.
Other advantages have also spread to include farm input credits and assist those living with HIV.
Charity had every reason to believe her life would remain below the poverty line where most of those in rural Malawi are, existing on less than USD$1.25 per day. Yet with a change of mindset and some incredible leadership skills, she’s amazingly chosen to turn it all around.
A true inspiration!