Deki loans give Edah the power to set up three businesses and look after the welfare of her family.
Meet Edah. She is defying the role of women in the rural communities of Malawi. With two thriving grocery stores and a third about to open, she is now the main breadwinner for the household and makes all the financial decisions. She supports her own three children as well as her mother. Edah also adopted her sister’s two children, after she sadly passed away.
However, life was not always like this for her. Three years ago Edah relied on her husband for the household income. As with many women in Malawi, she was not able to decide how the money should be spent. Her role was to raise the children, cook, clean and farm a small plot of land of basic crops such as cassava and maize for the family to eat. Her home had no basic provisions and the family slept on the dirt floor.
Every morning she would wake at sunrise and work on her land for a few hours, before returning to take care of her children. At 10am she would return to the fields until 3pm. With sunset at 6pm, no electricity and a day of back-breaking labour, she and her family were soon asleep. With her husband’s income small and unsteady, Edna was powerless to make the best decisions for her small children even though she was working up to 80 hours a week.
However, all of this changed with a micro-finance loan, provided by DEKI. Edah applied for a loan of £240 to open a grocery shop in her village. She knew this would be a good idea, as there were no small shops selling goods such as toiletries, soft drinks, sugar, and salt in the area. Amazingly, Edah did so well that she was able to pay back her loan within four months. She then re-applied for a second loan of £240 to set up another shop.
“Something small can really result in a big impact” says Edah when asked about what micro-finance means to her.
As a result of the income from her shops, Edah has been able to become a member of the Lund Female Village Bank. This village bank enables women in her area to work in groups to save money and provide loans to other women with excellent business ideas like hers. Asked about this venture she says:
‘We are empowered businesswomen dealing with finance. Women here are not respected. They are seen to only be mothers. Our husbands are expected to be in charge. However, if you give women the chance they will thrive. If a woman has the opportunity to set up her own business and achieve financial independence, you will ensure that change happens that benefits her children and the future of a community.
Importantly for Edah she is now in control of her family’s welfare.
‘I can make the decisions. I no longer have to rely on my husband. I am respected and he now trusts my judgement. He has even started working at one of my shops. I tell him how we will spend the money. I am paying for all my children to attend school and have even given a loan to my sister-in-law to help her start a business.’
Her future plans? Well, why stop at three businesses?! Edah wants to set-up a hardware shop, a restaurant and build a new house for her family.
We’re pretty sure that it will be the ‘house that Edah builds’.