Alice Chiwosera of the Mwaiwao Credit Group is the beneficiary of five loans from MicroLoan Foundation. She has used the loans to support her grocery business and to be able to meet the demand of her customers, which she struggled to do before having access to MicroLoan Foundation’s services, which are funded by the Department for International Development.
Alice is a widow, with four children of her own and seven other children living with her, ranging from eleven to twenty-five years old. She says that nine people are financially dependent on her. Alice left school at seventeen and had her first child at the age of twenty-four. Before receiving loans from MicroLoan Foundation, Alice’s business was struggling due to an inability to purchase stock in bulk. She estimates that she was making profits between MWK 5,000 (Malawian Kwacha) and MWK 8,000 per week. As a result of having access to capital, she has now managed to increase her profits to between MWK 18,000 and MWK 20,000.
These profits have been partly reinvested in the business, partly saved and the rest has provided her family with food, clothes, and school equipment. Alice has also used the profits from her business to build a house with an iron sheet roof and has bought two cows. She has even managed to support her ageing parents. Alice said that skills such as effective saving, goal setting and market research have been the most important aspect of the training she received from MicroLoan Foundation.
Alice says she hopes to continue growing her business, extend her shop size and start selling new items such as beans and ground nuts. She also hopes to raise more money to be able to provide her children with a college education. In the meantime, she says being encouraged by other members of the community and being seen as a courageous and successful woman makes her happy.