Standing in the shadow of the frame of her home, Mrs. Regina Zango is a vision of transformation, hope and determination. An extremely faithful woman with an enchanting smile, Regina, 58, is a vendor in the Madruga market in Matola (25 km from Maputo, the capital of Mozambique) and a client of Banco Oportunidade de Mozambique (BOM).
Abandoned by her husband over 20 years ago, Regina dedicated herself to her business of selling vegetables in the market to provide for her family, educate her six children and two grandchildren and, quite literally, build a better future for them.
In the beginning she lived with her brothers; her children still sleep at night at their house. Now she is living in a temporary one room shack with bamboo walls, a tin roof and a scrap wood door. It is meager, but she is happy there because it allows her to keep an eye on the permanent five rooms cement block house she is building block by block, room by room, with the profit from her business. Construction began five years ago and Regina said she believes it will be completed next year. She now has running water on the plot and one room in the new house has been covered, allowing her to store the building materials for the rest of the house.
Besides the house, Regina uses her savings to educate her children. Three are now in school in the 7th, 8th and 9th grade, and one is working. “I have worked with Regina since 2001, and she has always been a fighter – an inexhaustible woman who fights to guarantee the best for her children,” says Olga Bernadino, now a BOM Credit Officer, who has accompanied Regina through her challenges and successes over the years.
At BOM, Regina belongs to the Solidarity Group Humelela (“When water appears’’), and in December 2005 each member received a loan of $200. Regina came back to the group lending model after being an individual client because of the support and the more manageable size of loans. There is great camaraderie amongst the members of Humelela Group.
For Regina Zango, her children and grandchildren, the steps are small from grass shack to cement house, but the future is bright and certain. “I have been working for a long time, little by little, to build this house for the future,” Regina said with her arm around the shoulders of her granddaughter, “because even though I won’t be here one day, I’ll be happy, because my family will have a better place to sleep.”
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