Thanks for supporting Power of Love’s micro loans program that empowers women by providing them with business training and small loans. Once the women complete their training and receive a loan, they start a business and work hard to make it grow. Our loan officers advice the women and monitor the businesses via weekly loan meetings, field visits, refresher training and business mentoring sessions. Continuous monitoring of businesses has helped the women run their businesses well and keep on track with repayments.
Our Wish List and Request for Donations: At this time, we are raising funds to provide 50 new loans in the spring of 2015. Please donate generously so that women like Julie and Maureen (read their stories below) can break the cycle of poverty, learn a marketable skill, and keep their children in school. A single donation from you helps several women as loan capital funds go into a revolving fund and once a loan is repaid it becomes available for provision to a new woman entrepreneur.
Power of Love’s micro loans program is located in the community of Matero - one of the largest and poorest compounds in Lusaka with a population of approximately 80,000-85,000 people. This community is characterized by a high incidence of HIV/AIDS (prevalence rate of 14% among adults aged 15-49), and unemployment rates upwards of 60%. As a result most people are poor and live on less than $1 per day. Given this difficult environment, women benefit from learning a marketable skill and running a profitable small business. Most women beneficiaries are able to break out of the cycle of poverty and a lack of marketable skills so that they are able to improve the diet of their families and pay for school expenses for their children.
We would like you to meet Julie and Maureen, who received business training and a small loan to start a business. At this time, both women are running successful businesses and are making repayments on their second loan having successfully paid off their first loan. All women in our program receive three loans. By the end of the third loan, most businesses are doing well and the women have built up a small capital base so that they are on the path to self-reliance. Julie and Maureen, like most of the 230 women in our loans program are working hard every day to expand their businesses to provide for their families, and keep their children in school.
Julie (not her real name) is a widow who cares for her old parents and three grandchildren. With her first loan she started a business selling vegetables. Her business did well and she was able to pay for food and rent for her family. Once Julie had repaid her first loan, she received a second loan with which she expanded her business by adding used clothing to her vegetable shop.
At this time, Julie has been able to pay for school expenses for her three grandchildren, and is able to pay for medical expenses for her parents. She is happy that she got an opportunity to learn how to run a business, meet other women like her so she can learn from them, and received funds to start a business. She wants to continue to work hard to expand her business so that she can continue to put a smile on the faces of her old parents and orphaned grandchildren.
Maureen (not her real name) lost her husband to AIDS and is the sole provider for her four children. Before Maureen joined Power of Love’s loans program, she was having a difficult time as she was unable to pay for rent and school expenses for her children. Once Maureen joined our loans program, she received business training and a loan to start a fruit stand. Her fruit stand did well and she was able to pay for rent, school expenses and repay her off the first loan. With a second loan, she purchased a used popcorn machine. With earnings from her fruit and popcorn stand she is able to pay rent, school expenses, and save a small amount each week.
Maureen is very happy taking care of her family with earnings from her business as this has helped her improve her quality of life. She is thankful for this program as it had taught her how to be self-reliant.
Thanks for teaching economic independence and self-reliance to new women entrepreneurs in Zambia.
The team at Power of Love would like to wish you a very happy holiday season and express our gratitude for your support throughout the year. Your donation has given the gift of self-reliance to new women entrepreneurs in Zambia. Please take a moment and treat yourself to this short video shot during our last field visit. We hope that you enjoy the video as much as we do.
Power of Love's micro loans program continues to improve the lives of several hundred women and children impacted by HIV/AIDS and malaria in Zambia. We could not have achieved our goals this year without each of you.
Have a wonderful holiday season filled with family, friends, and laughter!
Thanks for supporting Power of Love’s micro loans program that empowers women by providing them with business training and loans. Once the women complete their training and receive a loan, they start a business and work hard to make it grow. Our loan officers advise the women and monitor the businesses via weekly loan meetings, field visits, refresher training and business mentoring sessions. Continuous monitoring of businesses has helped the women run their businesses well and keep on track with repayments.
Our loans program is located in the community of Matero - one of the largest and poorest compounds in Lusaka with a population of approximately 80,000-85,000 people. This community is characterized by a high incidence of HIV/AIDS (prevalence rate of 14% among adults aged 15-49), and unemployment rates upwards of 60%. As a result most people are poor and live on less than $1 per day. Given this difficult environment, women benefit from learning a marketable skill and running a profitable small business.
Profile of our Women Entrepreneurs
The age range of the women is from 33 to 65 years old, and 70% are single or widowed. On average each women cares for a total of 6 or more people, out of which 5 are children. A majority of the women start new businesses; the rest expand existing businesses. 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, toys, restaurants, charcoal, baby blankets, books, and a salon etc. The majority of the women start tiny grocery stores located close to their homes. A few women sell used clothes and shoes. Many ladies travel by bus to the City Market in Lusaka, purchase used clothing, toys, and shoes and resell these at a better price in their community. Many businesses such as charcoal, rice, beans and sugar involve the women buying in bulk, repackaging the item in smaller quantities and reselling. 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.
What is Unique about Our Program?
In addition to loans and business training, many women receive support from our pediatric HIV/AIDS care and malaria prevention programs. Support from these two programs (in the form of food, medicines, a package of health care services, and malaria bed nets) helps the women take care of their HIV+ children, and keep them healthy. This extra support enables women to devote more time to their business increasing its chances of success.
Impact of our Loans Program
Earnings from businesses enable most women to improve their diet and nutrition, send/keep their children in school, purchase household items like pots, pans, carpets, toys, start saving via bank accounts or at home, expand their business, and increase their original capital.
As the women gain valuable experience and expertise in their line of business they become more confident, work hard to provide for their families, and become role models for others (both men and women) in the community. A few dynamic women pool their resources and work together so as to be able to buy and sell larger quantities, and support each other after they are weaned off our program. For example, a group of five women who live in the same area decided to pool their loan capital and work together. They designated two women to travel to Malawi and purchase bales of used clothing at much lower prices than in Lusaka, Zambia. The women saved on transport expenses by sending only two ladies. They started selling used clothing and since their business was doing well, they wanted to move out from their rented apartments. Again they decided to pool their savings and purchased a big plot of land. This cost them less than if they had bought individual pieces of land. Now each one of them is an owner of a small piece of land and their dream is to build a small house in the near future.
Overall, the women are happy that they can take better care of their families, keep/send their children to school, are confident about their future and plan to continue working hard to expand their business and earnings potential. By the end of the third and final loan cycle most businesses are doing well, and the women on the path to self-reliance (both economic and social).
Thanks for caring.
In June 2014, 22 new women were identified to be provided with business training and loans to start small businesses. The loan disbursement activities, were held on June 12, 2014. The women who received loans were happy and said that they were looking forward to starting a business with the loan capital and would work hard to make their businesses successful. For most women this was their first business venture.
Profile of the New Beneficiaries
The women in this group range in ages from 33 to 65 years of age. Most women are taking care of several family members with a typical household size of eight, out of which five are children. They have chosen to start a diverse set of businesses ranging from groceries (fruits, dry fish, tea, soft drinks, vegetables, Beans, Kapenta, fresh fish, mealie meal- a Zambian staple), restaurant, hair salon, used clothing, shoes, and clothing items.
The women completed a four day business training course prior to receiving the loan capital. In addition, the women formed groups (4-5 women in each group) to support each other in running their businesses. A list of the topics covered during business training is as follows:
Disbursement of loans
The women were provided with a loan capital in the amount of $120-140 and are expected to complete loan repayments in 25 weekly instalments. They meet with the loan officer every week to make repayments, ask questions, learn from their peers about running a business, and discuss issues important to them (like taking care of an HIV+ child, importance of keeping children in school, HIV prevention, importance of getting tested for HIV etc.). At the end of every two months they attend a business mentoring session in which they have the opportunity to meet a business person like themselves (who is running a successful business), and this person is available to answer questions.
During the course of the loan, our loan officers visit the businesses on a regular basis to monitor and advice the women on how to improve sales, store layout, provide better customer service, keep records of costs, accounting help, and pricing.
Once the women have finished repaying the first loan they will be participate in refresher training and will be provided with a second loan in the same amount. At the end of the third loan cycle, the women are weaned off the program as they are expected to have accumulated enough capital to run their business on their own.
The new women who received loans are happy as they hope to take better care of their families, and keep/send their children to school. They are confident about their business and plan to continue working hard to expand their business and earnings potential over the next few months.
Happy Mother's Day! This Mother's day, give a gift of self-reliance to a mom in Zambia. Power of Love's micro loans program provides business training, loans and business monitoring and advice to poor women entrepreneurs in Zambia. Over the last seven years our women entrepreneurs have built successful businesses even though each and every one of them is battling difficult circumstances to provide for their families and keep their children healthy, and in school. It is heartwarming to see these women transform themselves from a situation of poverty and helplessness to taking charge of their lives and planning and saving for a brighter future. At this time we have about 240 women running moderately successful businesses. Since each women cares for 7-8 people on average, our loans program impacts about 1900 people directly and an additional 2000 indirectly as they encourage others to start a business and take charge of their lives. This leads to substantive ripple effects in the community beyond the program participants themselves.
Given below are stories of three women entrepreneurs who received business training and loans in 2013; their businesses are doing well and they have taken the first steps towards self-reliance.
Jane (not her real name): is a widow taking care of eight children (five her own and three children from her late brother). The three children had never been to school as they lost their mom to HIV/AIDS in 2012 and their dad a year later. Jane took in the orphaned children as she was their closest relative, but she had no means to support her family. In 2013, she received business training and a small loan to start a business selling grocery items like chips and detergent. With earnings from her business she has been able to pay for school expenses for all eight children. Jane understand the importance of keeping children in school and is planning to expand her business so that she can continue to provide for the children and keep them in school.
Mary (not her real name) takes care of five children of her own and two nephews orphaned due to HIV/AIDS. Her husband was not in favor of caring for her nephews but she took them in to her home as she is their closest relative. Her nephews had missed school for more than a year due to the loss of their parents. Mary started a business with the loan capital received and her restaurant business is doing well. With earnings from her business, she saved enough to pay for school expenses and her nephews went back to school in January 2014. She continues to work hard so that she can expand her business, increase earnings and savings so as to take better care for her family.
Gloria (name changed) is married with six children. It was difficult for her to care for her family as her husband does not have a full time job. Gloria wanted to help support the family, but did not have funds to start a business. She received business training and a loan to start a business selling charcoal. Gloria buys charcoal in bulk, repackages the charcoal, and sells the smaller packages as fuel. Since her business did well she was able to purchase building supplies to extend her home. Her plan is to work hard and expand her business so that she can add another room to her home for her own/renting purposes.
Thanks for your support.
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