Alexis and Brian visited this project on May 7th, 2009. They write:
The first thing we noticed about WMI was the brilliant smiles and joyous expressions on the faces of the nearly 200 women who greeted us. Shortly after our arrival, we were whisked off to see how construction is coming on the soon to be opened WMI office. This space, funded in part by GlobalGIving, will provide an office for WMI, a location for loan disbursement, and a much needed meeting space to replace the tent they now use. We paraded, en masse, out of the hall and down the main street to see the borrowers’ businesses. With nearly 200 women, parade is no overstatement; there was singing, dancing, and even crowds lining the street to watch the commotion. We tasted chapatti (a local snack) at one woman’s restaurant, we eyed the selection of another woman’s used clothing store, we peered into yet another woman’s general store, and so much more. All of these businesses have benefitted from the loans GlobalGiving has supported.
In talking to several of the women, we began to see the impact GlobalGiving funding has had on their lives. Camida Wasukira, one of the first women to receive a loan from WMI, runs a restaurant with her husband. In January of 2008, she took her first loan of just $100. She invested her loan in her business, and doubled her monthly income. She has reinvested some of her business’ profits by buying a cow, whose milk she uses in her restaurant. Aside from newly started savings, the rest of her profits have benefitted her family. Her 4 children used to go to school barefoot and hungry. Today, she is able to pay school fees, purchase shoes, and feed her children three nutritious meals a day. Other women told us they can now afford medications for their children, employ others (in so doing extend the impact of WMI), and for the first time in their lives, they can even buy personal items, such as shampoo. There is no doubt that WMI is making a substantial impact in the lives of these women, and through them, their community as a whole.
During our visit we came to find that WMI is a very special organization. Unlike many similar projects, WMI provides valuable training on saving, record keeping, and budgeting. The success of the organization can be seen in their 100% repayment rate among the 200 members. WMI hopes to expand their program, and provide these invaluable loans to many more women. Be sure to keep your eyes out as they post more on GlobalGiving.
When asked what they would tell their friends about this project, Alexis and Brian said, “Incredible: You need to see this!”
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