Happy Mother's Day! This Mother's day, give a gift of self-reliance to a mom in Zambia. Power of Love's micro loans program provides business training, loans and business monitoring and advice to poor women entrepreneurs in Zambia. Over the last seven years our women entrepreneurs have built successful businesses even though each and every one of them is battling difficult circumstances to provide for their families and keep their children healthy, and in school. It is heartwarming to see these women transform themselves from a situation of poverty and helplessness to taking charge of their lives and planning and saving for a brighter future. At this time we have about 240 women running moderately successful businesses. Since each women cares for 7-8 people on average, our loans program impacts about 1900 people directly and an additional 2000 indirectly as they encourage others to start a business and take charge of their lives. This leads to substantive ripple effects in the community beyond the program participants themselves.
Given below are stories of three women entrepreneurs who received business training and loans in 2013; their businesses are doing well and they have taken the first steps towards self-reliance.
Jane (not her real name): is a widow taking care of eight children (five her own and three children from her late brother). The three children had never been to school as they lost their mom to HIV/AIDS in 2012 and their dad a year later. Jane took in the orphaned children as she was their closest relative, but she had no means to support her family. In 2013, she received business training and a small loan to start a business selling grocery items like chips and detergent. With earnings from her business she has been able to pay for school expenses for all eight children. Jane understand the importance of keeping children in school and is planning to expand her business so that she can continue to provide for the children and keep them in school.
Mary (not her real name) takes care of five children of her own and two nephews orphaned due to HIV/AIDS. Her husband was not in favor of caring for her nephews but she took them in to her home as she is their closest relative. Her nephews had missed school for more than a year due to the loss of their parents. Mary started a business with the loan capital received and her restaurant business is doing well. With earnings from her business, she saved enough to pay for school expenses and her nephews went back to school in January 2014. She continues to work hard so that she can expand her business, increase earnings and savings so as to take better care for her family.
Gloria (name changed) is married with six children. It was difficult for her to care for her family as her husband does not have a full time job. Gloria wanted to help support the family, but did not have funds to start a business. She received business training and a loan to start a business selling charcoal. Gloria buys charcoal in bulk, repackages the charcoal, and sells the smaller packages as fuel. Since her business did well she was able to purchase building supplies to extend her home. Her plan is to work hard and expand her business so that she can add another room to her home for her own/renting purposes.
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