Micro Loans For Women Impacted by HIV/AIDS, Zambia

by Power of Love Foundation
Vetted

You will be happy to know that we now have 230 women enrolled in our micro loans program and a majority of them are running successful businesses. The 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, charcoal, baby blankets, books, restaurant, and a salon etc. Most women (about 50%) have started tiny grocery stores located close to their homes. About 20% of the women sell used clothes and shoes. These ladies travel by bus to the City Market in Lusaka, purchase the used clothing and shoes and resell these at a higher price in their community. Many of the 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. 

Here are stories of two women who have inspired us with their inventiveness and “can do” attitude.

Nelly is a 45 year old widow. Her husband died two years ago and left her with six children and one grandson. Her income as a maid was not enough to support herself and her family. In September 2013, she received business training and a loan that enabled her to start a small restaurant at the Tuesday community market. At present, her restaurant draws a regular clientele and she has been able to move out of her sister’s place where she was living since the death of her husband. She is now renting a two-room apartment where she lives there with her children and grandchild. Nelly is appreciative of our business training and loans program and the continued business guidance she is receiving to ensure her business does well.

Emelesi is an old lady taking care of 12 grandchildren and 4 children of her own. She was going through a difficult time as she has had to care for her children and grandchildren. Two of her sons and three grandchildren are HIV positive. Prior to September 2013, she was washing clothes to earn money, but her income was not enough to provide food for everyone in her family. With the help of business training and a loan, Emelesi started a business selling used clothing. Since she started her business, she has stopped washing clothes for others and is focusing on her business. Emelesi says that she is happy that her family is now able to have at least two meals a day. She would like to thank supporters of our loans program as this program has made a huge difference in her life.

Power of Love’s (POL) micro loans program empowers women impacted by HIV/AIDS by providing them with business training, a small loan, and business advice and monitoring over the course of the loan period. Our loans program has enabled poor women to engage in self-employment projects so that they can meet basic needs and protect against unexpected financial expenses. For most women there is a dramatic improvement in their standard of living and they may graduate out of poverty. For all involved there is perceived improvement in gender equality, improved economic welfare, and a sense of well-being and self-empowerment. We are proud to report that all of the outcomes of this project continue to be significant, sustainable and permanent. 

Thanks again for your gift of empowerment which has gone a long way in helping the women (about two-thirds of whom are single) take the first steps towards self-reliance.

Happy Holidays from the Power of Love Team

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The Power of Love team would like to thank you for supporting our women entrepreneurs in Zambia. As a result of your generosity, our women entrepreneurs are able to take better care of their families and pay for school expenses. Most important your donations empower the women and put them on the path to self-reliance. Please take a moment and treat yourself to this short video which was taken during our last field visit. The children had a lot of fun making origami birds and playing with them. We hope you enjoy the video as much as we do. 

                          THANK YOU

Happy Holidays from the Power of Love Team

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As a result of the generosity of donors such as yourself, we were able to provide new loans to 80 women entrepreneurs last month. These women completed business training in early September and started 80 new businesses. The 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, charcoal, baby blankets, books, and a salon etc. Many of the businesses such as charcoal, rice, beans and sugar involve the women buying in bulk, repackaging the item in smaller quantities and reselling. Most women (about 50%) have started tiny grocery stores located close to their homes. About 20% of the women sell used clothes and shoes. These ladies travel by bus to the City Market in Lusaka, purchase the used clothing and shoes and resell these at a better price in their community.

One of the ladies, Edith Makoni owned a hair dryer machine, so she opened a hair salon by renting space in the marketplace and purchasing supplies and materials like combs and cosmetics, needed to run her business. 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.

Loans provided to these women will go a long way in helping them provide for their families and take the first steps towards self-reliance. At this time, 70% of the women are single or widowed and 50% are dependent on their husband or relatives for household expenses. On average each woman cares for 5 or more people at home - our goal is to help these women learn how to run a business so they can pay for school expenses and keep their children in school.

We will be tracking these businesses to study how they evolve as the women progress from their first loan to their second and third loan cycles. Our hope is that as the women move to through their loan cycles, they are able to increase the number and variety of items, add higher value items, increase the store size or move to a better location, and/or have a better store design and display.

Thanks for your support. 

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Power of Love’s (POL) micro loans program empowers women impacted by HIV/AIDS by providing them with business training, a small loan, and business advice and monitoring over the course of the loan period. Our program is specifically designed for women caring for the HIV-infected and is one of the few loan programs that works with women infected or impacted by HIV/AIDS.

Meet our Heroes:
Dorothy cares for nine children - four children of her own and five orphans. Her business of selling vegetables was not doing well due to several similar vendors in her area. Dorothy wanted to start a new business but needed capital of at least $120-150. She enrolled in Power of Love's micro loans program and received business training and a loan to start a new business. Her new business (soap, oil, detergent, eggs, toiletries) is doing well and with earnings from her business she has been able to pay for school expenses for two children who were not in school due to lack of funds. Dorothy plans on working hard and use the skills she learnt during business training to take her business forward. At present, Dorothy is happy that her business is doing well; her children are eating better, and are in school. She has become a mentor to other women in the community and encourages them to take charge of their own lives.

Jane is a widow caring for four children of her own and three children from her late brother. Both her husband and brother died the same year leaving her with no means to care for her family. Jane enrolled in our micro loans program, received business training and a loan and started selling fruits. At present Jane is on her third loan cycle and her business is doing well. She has expanded her assortment of goods to include eggs, cooking oil, and other types of groceries. She is very happy that she is able to take care of her family with earnings from her business. Jane's plan for the future is to keep all the children in her care in school and make their living arrangement more comfortable by extending her late brother's one room house. She is confident that she can achieve her goals by working hard and saving for her future.

Need For Funds: At this time we are raising funds to provide an additional 100 new loans to women entrepreneurs like Dorothy and Jane in August 2013. This will bring the total number of women in our program to 250. Please donate generously to help these women take better care of their families, keep their children in school and take the first steps towards self-reliance.

Conclusion: Micro loans successfully enable women to engage in self-employment projects and set them on the road to self-reliance. These loans help a poor household meet basic needs and protect against unexpected financial expenses. For most women there is a dramatic improvement in their standard of living and they may graduate out of poverty. For all involved there is perceived improvement in gender equality, improved economic welfare, and a sense of well-being and self-empowerment. We are proud to report that all of the outcomes of this project continue to be significant, sustainable and permanent. 

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Our Women Entrepreneurs: An Update on Their Businesses 

Father's Day is Sunday, June 16. This Father's Day give a gift of empowerment to a family in Zambia.

Power of Love’s (POL) micro loans program empowers women impacted by HIV/AIDS by providing them with
business training, a small loan, and business advice and monitoring over the course of the loan period. Since every woman in our program is either infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS, fewer than 5% have a bank account and as a result, microfinance organizations typically do not provide loans to them. Our program is specifically designed for women caring for the HIV-infected and is one of the few loan programs that works with women infected or impacted by HIV/AIDS.

Businesses started with these loans are diverse and range from selling bananas along the roadside to brick-and-mortar stores selling cell phone chargers and accessories. Many women distribute fish to local restaurants, fry donut-like snacks for stores, or make their own floor wax. Additional businesses include: Groceries (mille meal, rice, sugar, cooking oil, soap, vegetables, dried fish, dressed chicken, popcorn), used goods (clothes, shoes, handbags), hair salon/barber shop, electrical fittings, and knitted sweaters. On average, a loan enables a family of 7-8 people to eat better and for the children to attend school. In addition, about two-thirds of the women have the sole responsibility for caring for everyone in their household as they are either widowed or single.

Impact of the Loans Program: With businesses started with the help of the loans and earnings from their businesses, most women are able to feed, clothe and educate their families. Repayment rates are around 90-92%; extraordinary by any measure, but especially so given the harsh circumstances the women face. To date, this program has provided 475 loans to women impacted by HIV/AIDS in Zambia and has improved the lives of over 4000 people in the community of Matero in Lusaka, Zambia.

At this time we have 170 women running successful to moderately successful businesses. As a result of earnings from these businesses more than 100 children have been able to go back to school as their moms/grandmothers are able to pay for school expenses. Further, as the women move on to their second and third loan cycles, they graduate from selling lower value goods like fruit and vegetables or grocery items to higher value items like used clothing, blankets, school jerseys/uniforms, toiletries, shoes. Out of the 170 women, 153 women are on track with their repayments as their businesses are doing well and many of them have increased their capital and started saving bank accounts. At this time, the remaining 17 businesses are not doing well and we are advising the women on how to turn around their business and tracking each business closely.     

Need For Funds: At this time we are raising funds to provide an additional 100 new loans to women entrepreneurs in September 2013. This will bring the total number of women in our program to 270. Please donate generously to help these women take better care of their families, keep their children in school and take the first steps towards self-reliance.  

Conclusion: Micro loans successfully enable women to engage in self-employment projects and set them on the road to self-reliance. These loans help a poor household meet basic needs and protect against unexpected financial expenses. For most women there is a dramatic improvement in their standard of living and they may graduate out of poverty. For all involved there is perceived improvement in gender equality, improved economic welfare, and a sense of well-being and self-empowerment. We are proud to report that all of the outcomes of this project continue to be significant, sustainable and permanent. 

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
$23,126 raised of $30,000 goal
 
256 donations
$6,874 to go
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