Lydia is 41 years old and she remarried a year ago. She has four children from her first marriage who are between ages of 14 and 23. Her first husband died about ten years ago in a mining accident in Zambia.
Following the death of her husband, she did all she could to financially support her four young children.
She opened her own small business at her home in the village of Chipunga, Malawi selling fish and freshly baked scones all in order to try and make sure she had the money to feed her children. Things were not always easy and with lulls in sales Lydia’s family suffered badly.
“At times when business was not okay, the market would become a problem and then it was very hard to support my children. I wouldn’t be able to pay for them to go to school or buy enough food for them to eat well. It didn’t make me happy to think so much about how to send my children to school! When my husband was alive he was able to support the family, but when he died I had to do it on my own.”
Microloan to scale things up
With no capital behind her business Lydia had no way to of expanding her trade to help improve her family’s situation. It wasn’t until she heard about the interest free Deki loans that Temwa was launching that she saw the possibility of a real change.
“There were stories that this was all just a rumour, that there could never just be a loan without interest! I felt so happy, I was thinking that now the time has come for me to expand my business and improve my life.”
Lydia applied for her loan in the September of 2011. She wanted to use the loan to open a small bar, buy more grocery items to sell and also increase her stocks of fish, not just from home but at the local markets too. From the profits she made, she planned to build her own shop to sell groceries from and ensure she made enough money to send her children to school. When her loan was accepted Lydia was able to start putting these plans into action.
Groceries, bar and furniture business…
She was able to expand her business much further than she had first expected. Aside from the increasing her grocery store stocks and her opening up the bar, Lydia was also able to start up her own carpentry business with help from her two brothers.
“It’s going so well and we have customers here wanting to buy our beds, chairs and tables that we make. The grocery business is also improving from the sales. When I sell these products I can buy even more products to improve the status of my business. The bar is also doing good, from it we are able to make an additional MWK9,000 (£32) every few weeks. I am pleased that we are able to do so well from the profits!”
A new roof and electricity in house
With her Deki loans, life for Lydia and her children has now improved considerably. Not only can she afford to support her children through primary education, she is now able to send each of them to secondary school too, which for a mother in Malawi is a considerable amount to pay out. Her family now has more to eat and Lydia can buy the household basics that she once really struggled to afford. From the profits she has made, Lydia has also been able to replace her thatched roof with a new tin roof and connect her home to the electric power lines, a real indicator of financial prosperity in the remote rural area of Usisya.
“When I compare my life now and before my life is much better. I am very happy to have things that we never had before, we have much more food and can afford to buy so many more items to sell and make money from. To Deki, I am very happy for the loan we received and we hope that they continue supporting our communities. We are so very thankful for the support.”
Deki partners with Temwa in Malawi.