Power of Love Foundation

Our Mission is: To turn back the tide of the global AIDS epidemic through innovative community responses that increase the effectiveness of prevention and care efforts. Our Vision is: A world where the AIDS epidemic is in continuous retreat, and people living with HIV/AIDS have access to loving care and treatment in an environment free of stigma and discrimination.
Oct 12, 2013

New Loans Provided to Eighty Women Entrepreneurs impacted by HIV/AIDS in Zambia

As a result of the generosity of donors such as yourself, we were able to provide new loans to 80 women entrepreneurs last month. These women completed business training in early September and started 80 new businesses. The businesses chosen by the women are quite diverse and range from groceries (mealie meal - a Zambian staple, cooking oil, rice, sugar, eggs, fruits, vegetables, and beans), to dressed chicken, dried fish, charcoal, baby blankets, books, and a salon etc. Many of the businesses such as charcoal, rice, beans and sugar involve the women buying in bulk, repackaging the item in smaller quantities and reselling. Most women (about 50%) have started tiny grocery stores located close to their homes. About 20% of the women sell used clothes and shoes. These ladies travel by bus to the City Market in Lusaka, purchase the used clothing and shoes and resell these at a better price in their community.

One of the ladies, Edith Makoni owned a hair dryer machine, so she opened a hair salon by renting space in the marketplace and purchasing supplies and materials like combs and cosmetics, needed to run her business. All of these businesses add value for the community members as they are located within walking distance from their homes and the community is able to purchase smaller and more affordable quantities.

Loans provided to these women will go a long way in helping them provide for their families and take the first steps towards self-reliance. At this time, 70% of the women are single or widowed and 50% are dependent on their husband or relatives for household expenses. On average each woman cares for 5 or more people at home - our goal is to help these women learn how to run a business so they can pay for school expenses and keep their children in school.

We will be tracking these businesses to study how they evolve as the women progress from their first loan to their second and third loan cycles. Our hope is that as the women move to through their loan cycles, they are able to increase the number and variety of items, add higher value items, increase the store size or move to a better location, and/or have a better store design and display.

Thanks for your support. 

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Sep 9, 2013

Visit to Matero Compound

Mirriam checking up on Rebecca
Mirriam checking up on Rebecca

The following is an e-postcard from Kai Iizuka, a GlobalGiving Representative in Zambia.

Rebecca aged six is a double orphan living with her grandmother, Mary. The grandmother explained how she is the only one in the family earning income, and supports five to six members of the family by selling small packets of cobra wax colouring for five Ngwee each (about five cents). Having heard about the project after visiting the center, she put up Rebecca as a potential candidate as a beneficiary and was very relieved when she was chosen. The Matero Care Centre helps the family by paying for Rebecca’s medicine as well as occasionally providing a bag of mealie meal and even helping transport her to the hospital during emergencies. Other than that, they also helped supply Mary with fabrics to create table cloths to sell as she explained that she was now suffering from breathing problems, and selling the packs of cobra colouring was becoming harder and harder.

During the checkup, which is done on a regular basis ranging from once a month to twice a week depending on the severity of the child’s condition, Ms. Kanyanta Mirriam, who had kindly let me tag along to see how the organization went about checkups, started off by asking the family if there were any problems that may have cropped up since the last visit. From there she moved on to check the child for rashes that could indicate complications with HIV. After finding nothing, she pulled out a thermometer and a weighing scale from her handbag to check on the child’s overall fitness. Finally after the checkup she reviewed hygiene guidelines with the family and reminded them why it was important to keep a clean home as well as making sure to wash your hands and brush your teeth. It was all very comprehensive for a short visit, and Mirriam explained that she visited about three to four families every day to ensure that things were going fine.

On Saturday, I was invited to attend the SafePark activities that are hosted by the Matero Care Center every week from 9:00 till 11:00. This is where the children from nearby compounds are able to gather and take part in many fun but informative activities, and talk about their problems in a safe environment. There were about ninety children when I visited, ages ranging from four till about fourteen. For the first hour and a half, there were numerous physical activities such as dances, many Simon says-like games, and a form of duck-duck-goose. After this the children were split by age groups and discussed problems they were facing at home, or brushing up on what they should be doing for their day-to-day hygiene, and even how to know when they were being abused. One of the activities that stood out for me was the one where children were allowed to play with building blocks, and a lot of the times, this helped express problems that they were having at home. I was told that other days they also allow children to just draw or colour and that too helps with them expressing their personal feelings.

Kids at the SafePark
Kids at the SafePark
Jul 28, 2013

Meet our Heroes: Stories of Two Successful Women Entrepreneurs

Power of Love’s (POL) micro loans program empowers women impacted by HIV/AIDS by providing them with business training, a small loan, and business advice and monitoring over the course of the loan period. Our program is specifically designed for women caring for the HIV-infected and is one of the few loan programs that works with women infected or impacted by HIV/AIDS.

Meet our Heroes:
Dorothy cares for nine children - four children of her own and five orphans. Her business of selling vegetables was not doing well due to several similar vendors in her area. Dorothy wanted to start a new business but needed capital of at least $120-150. She enrolled in Power of Love's micro loans program and received business training and a loan to start a new business. Her new business (soap, oil, detergent, eggs, toiletries) is doing well and with earnings from her business she has been able to pay for school expenses for two children who were not in school due to lack of funds. Dorothy plans on working hard and use the skills she learnt during business training to take her business forward. At present, Dorothy is happy that her business is doing well; her children are eating better, and are in school. She has become a mentor to other women in the community and encourages them to take charge of their own lives.

Jane is a widow caring for four children of her own and three children from her late brother. Both her husband and brother died the same year leaving her with no means to care for her family. Jane enrolled in our micro loans program, received business training and a loan and started selling fruits. At present Jane is on her third loan cycle and her business is doing well. She has expanded her assortment of goods to include eggs, cooking oil, and other types of groceries. She is very happy that she is able to take care of her family with earnings from her business. Jane's plan for the future is to keep all the children in her care in school and make their living arrangement more comfortable by extending her late brother's one room house. She is confident that she can achieve her goals by working hard and saving for her future.

Need For Funds: At this time we are raising funds to provide an additional 100 new loans to women entrepreneurs like Dorothy and Jane in August 2013. This will bring the total number of women in our program to 250. Please donate generously to help these women take better care of their families, keep their children in school and take the first steps towards self-reliance.

Conclusion: Micro loans successfully enable women to engage in self-employment projects and set them on the road to self-reliance. These loans help a poor household meet basic needs and protect against unexpected financial expenses. For most women there is a dramatic improvement in their standard of living and they may graduate out of poverty. For all involved there is perceived improvement in gender equality, improved economic welfare, and a sense of well-being and self-empowerment. We are proud to report that all of the outcomes of this project continue to be significant, sustainable and permanent. 

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