MicroLoan Foundation is a women’s empowerment and poverty alleviation charity supporting women in sub-Saharan Africa to build small businesses and work their own way out of poverty. With small loans and comprehensive business and financial literacy training, women in rural regions (who are often excluded from finance) can manage businesses such as grocery stores, fruit and vegetable stalls, farms or hairdressing salons. Many of the women in MicroLoan’s network left education early and are illiterate, so the training is done through song, dance and role-play. When this is coupled with capital, peer-to-peer support and ongoing mentoring, aspiring entrepreneurs become successful businesswomen. With a steady income, these women can afford nutritious food, a safe home and healthcare for the whole family, as well as an education for their children. MicroLoan have witnessed the creation of thriving market centres when women come together to work, and whole communities can be transformed for generations to come.
Evelesi was born into a family living in poverty in Malawi. She grew up without the most basic necessities such as regular meals and clothes. She left school at age 12, and became a mother at the young age of 15.
Evelesi now has ten children, and is financially responsible for her sister and her mother too. Before she joined a MicroLoan group six years ago, Evelesi was already an aspiring entrepreneur selling cassava locally. However, sales were extremely slow, so she joined MicroLoan for the capital and the training she needed to flourish as a businesswoman. Evelesi was able to grow her cassava business and expanded by opening a grocery store. The store was well stocked and highly popular, so she was able to further diversify by purchasing three motorcycles to rent out.
It is testament to Evelesi’s drive and determination that in just six years, she has almost tripled her weekly earnings. She now runs three successful businesses and has five employees. With a steady income, Evelesi can afford nutritious food, clothes and school fees for her children – necessities she never had growing up. With support from MicroLoan Foundation, Evelesi has broken a cycle of intergenerational poverty, and rewritten the future of her family. Evelesi’s success in business has also transformed the lives of her 5 employees and their families. When one woman thrives, a whole community can be positively impacted.
To find out more and/or donate, go to www.microloanfoundation.org.uk