Micro Loans For Women Impacted by HIV/AIDS, Zambia

by Power of Love Foundation
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A grandma at her store
A grandma at her store

The Power of Love team would like to wish you a happy holiday season and express thanks for your caring, encouragement, and support throughout the year. 2016 was an extraordinary year for families in our micro loans program. With your help, we could provide business training and loans to 150 first time women entrepreneurs who completed business training and started businesses. Today, we have more than 600 businesses operating successfully in the community. Loan recipients have seen a marked improvement in the diet and health of their families, are able to keep children in school, and have built strong relationships and partnerships with others in the community. In addition to providing a source of income to business owners, these businesses provide convenience as community residents can make purchases in smaller quantities closer to home. In addition, residents have an opportunity to sample new products since many businesses, such as hair salons, are new to the community. These outcomes have led to a community that is better informed about HIV care and prevention, is more self-reliant, and stronger than before.    

Plans for 2017: With your continued support, we would like to provide an additional 100 new loans and business training to first time women entrepreneurs in Zambia. This will bring the total number of active loans to 472 benefitting more than 3,400 people directly and an equal number indirectly.   

Our holiday treat for you: Please take a moment to enjoy this short video, that showcases two little girls learning to dance with older kids. We are sure this video will brighten your day.

Sending you a giant wave of love and best wishes for a joyful holiday season.

Loan recipients exchanging notes at a meeting
Loan recipients exchanging notes at a meeting
An entrepreneur selling pop corn
An entrepreneur selling pop corn
Charcoal business
Charcoal business

Links:

A typical business is selling dried fish
A typical business is selling dried fish

Thanks again for your continued support for our work in the area of women's empowerment and community strengthening in Zambia. As you know our goal is to empower women by teaching them marketable skills so they can take better care of their families, keep their children in school, and become role model for others in the community. Today we would like to share a few exciting developments in our micro loans program.  

Exciting developments in the past 12 months: 

  • Program expansion: A record number of 100 new loans were provided in 2016 bringing the total number of active loans to 372.
  • Business Training: A record number of 372 women were provided with business training since November 2015. This implies that 372 new women are now equipped with marketable skills that will enable them to take better care of their families and make their communities stronger as they share their learning with others. 
  • Business Club: Some of our graduates formed a business club with the goal of mentoring current loan recipients whose businesses are not doing well and encouraging others. Proud of these dynamic ladies.
  • Higher value items: Many women have started businesses with higher value items such as jewelry, bed sheets, pre-paid cell phone cards, wedding accessories etc.
  • Repayment rates:  Repayment rates continue to be in the range of 90-92% in spite of the difficult circumstances of our loan recipients. Most loan recipients are taking care of family members living with HIV, and many are HIV+ themselves. In addition, many loan recipients are grandmothers taking care of multiple orphaned grandchildren. 
  • Businesses in the community: More than 300 businesses are being run by women who have graduated from our program over the last 8-10 years. These women continue to work hard to build their capital and expand their businesses. Businesses run by graduates are in addition to the 372 businesses being run by current loan recipients.  

Thanks as always - we could not have achieved any of this without your support. 

A lady outside her store
A lady outside her store
A loan recipient with her grandson
A loan recipient with her grandson
Business Training session in progress
Business Training session in progress
A lady with her pop corn stand
A lady with her pop corn stand

Links:

The Power of Love team and families in our micro loans program would like to thank you for your continued support and caring. With your help, we are able to provide business training, loan capital to start a business, business mentoring, and education on prevention of HIV to first time women entrepreneurs in Zambia. Earnings from businesses help the women pay for food, medicines, rent, and school expenses. In a relatively short span of time (about 10-18 months), most women learn how to run a business, have gathered enough capital to continue running their business, and become a part of a strong social network; all of which help break the vicious circle of poverty and low education. In addition, many become role models and mentors for others in their community.

Our Family of Frist Time Women Entrepreneurs is Growing: In April 2016, we were able to provide business training and new loans to 50 first time women entrepreneurs. With the addition of these 50 new loans, we now have a total of 322 active loans that benefit about 2,250 people directly as each woman cares for seven people on average.

Next Steps: In September 2016, we will be providing an additional 50 new loans to women entrepreneurs. This will bring the total number of active loans to 372, benefitting over 4000 people directly and indirectly.  

Impact of our Microloans Program

Short and Long Term Impact on the Family: Economic and social empowerment of families is illustrated by:

  • all families are eating 2-3 meals per day as compared to one meal before enrollment,
  • almost all women have purchased household items like pots, pans, radios, used TV’s and toys for their children,
  • most women have been able to pay for school expenses (uniforms, shoes, school bags, fees),
  • most women are learning to save and about 40% are saving a small amount each week,
  • about 20% of the women are saving via bank accounts (as compared to less than 5% before enrollment),
  • a few women purchased land for building and/or farming which ensures an income in the future,
  • a majority of businesses have expanded,
  • most women have understood the importance of keeping children in school,  
  • most women have better knowledge of HIV care and prevention and
  • the women have built strong social networks and relationships of mutual support.

Short and Long Term Impact on the Community:

  • Add value: Businesses started add value for the whole community as they:
    • provide increased convenience. Residents have to travel shorter distances and can purchase smaller quantities,
    • are new to the community and may provide an element of luxury to the residents. For e.g. a hair salon that may offer basic hair styling and braiding for girls. 
  • Change in culture:
    • some men (husbands and sons) start helping in the business,
    • women start saving at home or in a bank.
  • Prevention of HIV: families are better informed about the HIV prevention & care.
  • Reduction of stigma associated with HIV due to better information.

Why is this Program Successful? Our micro loans program has been successful as it is a part of a comprehensive program that includes pediatric HIV caremalaria prevention, and “Safe Park” programs. Since a family can be enrolled in multiple programs, in addition to learning how to run a business, the women learn how to care for their HIV positive children/family members, the importance of keeping children in school, and HIV and malaria prevention. This multi-pronged approach significantly increases the loan recipient’s chances of success in business.

To Sum: As of August 2016, we have worked with 606 women and 284 have graduated from the program. We are thrilled as out of the 284 women, 196 are still running successful businesses in the community. Moreover, more than one-third of the women graduates have made investments in land, shops, and home extensions so they have a sustained source of income.

By October 2016, we will have 372 active loans with more than 4000 direct and indirect beneficiaries. As a result of this program, more than 700 children have been able to attend school and all families are seeing an improvement in their health due to a better diet.   

Thanks for empowering women in Zambia.  

Links:

Father’s day is June 19! This Father’s day celebrate fathers’ everywhere by giving a gift of empowerment to first time women entrepreneurs who are struggling to take care of their families and pay for school expenses for their children. Your donation will help provide business training and micro loans to start a business to women impacted by HIV, and AIDS in Zambia.

Today we would like you to meet two ladies who started new businesses just a couple of months back. They are putting the business principles they learned recently into practice every day, and working hard to increase earnings so they can take better care of their families. At this time, we have 322 women like Gina and Mary (see their stories below) who are taking charge of their lives by selling groceries, used shoes, used clothes, cell phone covers, chair covers, etc. Most women in our micro loans program are trying to overcome adverse circumstances so their children and grandchildren can stay healthy and attend school. These ladies inspire us every day.        

Gina is a 63-year old widow. She had seven children but only four are living as she lost three children a few years back. Her household consists of nine members and she is the sole provider for six grandchildren (out of which three are orphans), two dependents and herself. One of her grandsons who is now six years old, has been sick since birth and is malnourished and underweight. The child’s father does not want to take care of his son and is ready to divorce his wife because of his son’s chronic ill-health.

Life has not been easy for Gina. She had no experience in running a business prior to enrolling in Power of Love’s micro loans program. After completing business training, she started selling charcoal. She buys big bags of charcoal (50 lbs). repackages the charcoal in 2-4 lb. bags and sells the smaller bags at a better price. She is gaining confidence in her ability to run a business and is more optimistic about her future. At this time Gina is in her first loan cycle and on track with repayments.

Mary is a 65-year old widow. She lost seven of her nine children and the remaining two are not in good health. She has 12 grandchildren, but only two are in school. Her oldest grandchild who is 20 years old, dropped out of school in grade nine. Her family cannot afford more than one meal per day.

Mary has several friends in Power of Love’s micro loans program and based on their testimonies she believed that she too can change her life for the better. After completing business training, she started selling charcoal. At this time, she is on track with repayments and happy as she is able to afford three meals for her family.

To Sum: Earnings from businesses enable several hundred women like Gina and Mary, to take better care of their families, keep children healthy, and pay for school and other household expenses. In addition, new women entrepreneurs have become role models, teachers, and mentors as they share their experiences and knowledge with others in the community.

Thanks for empowering women in Zambia.  

Links:

Happy Mother's day! This Mother’s day give a gift of empowerment to first time women entrepreneurs who are struggling to take care of their families and pay for school expenses for their children. You can empower women by providing them with training in marketable skills, and loans to start a business.

Last month we celebrated moms and grandmothers everywhere by expanding our micro loans program. Fifty first time entrepreneurs were provided with business training and new loans to start businesses in their community of Matero in Lusaka, Zambia. Over the course of four days, 50 women went through an intensive business training course, at the end which they presented a business plan. All 50 women completed the training successfully and are now putting the business techniques learnt into practice.

Businesses started with these loans are diverse and range from selling groceries, used shoes, used clothing and toys to school jerseys, cell phone covers, light fixtures, batteries, and wedding accessories. For the next two years, the new entrepreneurs will be supported by a strong network of other loan recipients, weekly informational meetings, business mentorship meetings, refresher trainings, and field visits. Earnings from these new businesses help pay for food, rent, medicines, clothing, and school expenses for their children. 

With the addition of these 50 new entrepreneurs, we will have a total of 500 businesses operating in the community. Over the last 10 years, our loans program has helped start over 600 businesses; 70% of which are still operating in the community and helping keep children healthy and in school.

Impact of our Microloans Program

Short term

Economic empowerment: earnings from businesses help pay for food, rent, medicines and school expenses. Social empowerment: women build strong social networks, and many become role models and mentors.

Impact on the community: Businesses started add value for the whole community as they: (i) provide increased convenience for residents. Residents have to travel shorter distances and they can purchase in smaller quantities, (ii) are unique and provide an element of luxury to the residents. For e.g. a hair salon that may offer basic hair styling and braiding for girls, (iii) increase in information and skill level as our beneficiaries share their learning, and (iv) change the culture (via savings, men helping in stores run by the women)

Long term:

1. Prevention of HIV: Loan recipients learn about HIV care, treatment and prevention and the importance of voluntary testing and counseling. All of these lead to HIV prevention.   

2. Reduction of stigma associated with HIV: Discussions regarding HIV care and prevention with peers and better knowledge leads to a reduction in the stigma associated with this disease.    

3. Increased attendance at school as the children improve in health due to better care and nutrition. 

To Sum: Earnings from businesses enable several hundred women to take better care of their families, keep children healthy, and pay for school and other household expenses. In addition, new women entrepreneurs have become role models, teachers, and mentors as they share their experiences and knowledge with others in the community.

Thanks for empowering women in Zambia.  

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Power of Love Foundation

Location: San Diego, CA - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.poweroflove.org
Project Leader:
Alka Subramanian
Founder/Director
San Diego, CA United States
$24,090 raised of $30,000 goal
 
266 donations
$5,910 to go
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