In the Chokwé district of Mozambique many women are farmers, but Regina Salomão Mondlane, a single 33-year-old who lives in a house made of mud and covered in zinc sheets, sells new clothes to people of all ages and genders. Regina has operated this clothing business since 1996, and she travels from Chokwé to Maputo (a six hour drive round-trip) at least twice a month to acquire the goods and supplies she needs for her business.
When Regina was introduced to BOM, Opportunity’s partner bank in Mozambique, she took out her very first loan, worth $300, and invested it all in her business. With the extra money this loan provided, she expanded her business from one boutique to two in the same market. She uses the extra income from her growing business to purchase food, education and transportation for schoolchildren and to build herself an improved house.
Regina saves $9 each day in the savings account she opened with BOM, and she encourages her friends to save money by collecting their income and adding it to a separate BOM savings account at the end of each month. Regina is now on her second loan cycle with BOM, and she plans to use the money to extend her business to a more populated market. Regina says her dream is to “see everyone wearing new clothes, especially those living in the remote areas, because it enhances a person’s dignity and self-esteem.”
When clients, like Regina, build businesses with Opportunity loans, they often set into motion monumental changes. Family income rises. Children are well fed and go to school. Homes are improved. Women gain status. For clients around the globe, these transformations take place every day–beginning with loans as small as $160.