Her journey started with you. Families living in chronic poverty are making the most of the opportunities you make possible, living their dream of having a different and better life. Because you invested in Opportunity Malawi, we can continue to invest in people like Beatrice Ngombe of Lilongwe, Malawi as we expand deeper into rural communities where the daily challenges associated with poverty hit the hardest.
Each month, Beatrice hires transport for dried fish, rice and soap to sell at markets in Zambia. For the 16-hour return trip she invests her profit to buy 50 bolts of the finest cloth in Zambia to sell to store owners in Lilongwe.
Remarkably, this 57-year-old woman, who has lived in extreme poverty most of her life, has learned to negotiate the transport, storage and sale of these goods, establishing a supply chain spanning two countries. It all began when Beatrice left her abusive husband and opened a goods stall to support her two children. A natural entrepreneur, she believed that with hard work and ingenuity she could build a successful business. Beatrice applied for her first loan and opened a savings account with Opportunity Malawi in 2004. Today, on her 7th loan, this one valuing $2,700, she has grown her business from a table top to an import/export business, creating jobs for 12 people.
With Beatrice’s increased profits and savings, and a great deal of determination over eight years, she has constructed a home with a concrete floor, running water and electricity. She has also secured plots with plans to build rental homes. Perhaps most importantly, she has impacted the future of her grandson and three granddaughters, all orphaned at an early age, by paying for their secondary education. She also mentors several young women in her community, encouraging them to save money and build their businesses. Despite the difficult circumstances of her life, Beatrice lives with energy, passion, dignity and hope. She says, “I am a living example of what a woman can accomplish through hard work and economic empowerment.”