Welcome to The Shoe Garden - For women with longer feet!

Every pair of shoes sold helps a woman build her business

When I’m explaining the work of the amazing MicroLoan Foundation Australia, there’s one story I can’t tell often enough.

It’s when Dorothy, the leader of a lending group in regional Malawi, said to me: “I used to have to beg my husband for money. Now he comes to me.”

Fist pump. High five. Squeal.

I wanted to do all these things, but I remained calm and smiled as I sat with Dorothy and the interpreter and she told me about life after receiving a small loan; a loan that has helped her grow her humble grocery stall and given her independence and respect.

It’s simple really and that’s the power of it.

A poor woman in regional Malawi is given a small loan in order to start or grow her business.

Not just that, she is given training in business practices, often through song or dance as she is often illiterate.

Not only that, she is one of many women in a group that act as each other’s support and collateral.

And not just that, she is now empowered to achieve amazing things and help not just herself but her family. All because someone believed in her.

The loan is paid back in around three months. Interest is paid, too, and that helps support the charity. The average loan is around $60. Once it’s paid back, another woman gets the $60 again. Then another and another.

I love, love, love the idea of microfinance as one way to assist people escape poverty and a way that treats people with respect.

That’s why I’m so proud this past week to have reached a huge milestone: I have helped to raise $20,000 for MicroLoan Foundation Australia since April 2015.

About $6k of that is thanks to my darling family, friends, customers and peers who have donated themselves or organised fundraising events.

Around $14k is what I have chosen to donate. Every time a pair of shoes (or a handbag, or even a can of waterproofing spray for that matter) is sold at The Shoe Garden, in-store or online, a donation from between 25c to $5 is made the following month.

I always wanted giving back as part of the DNA of my business; it’s a no-brainer for me. I love doing it. My customers love it. And amazing women like Dorothy get to change their lives for the better.

Fist pump. High five. Squeal.

Until next time
Carol & CCx

Ps. Below is a photo of mum and myself with the amazing women of the Dodo lending group. Dorothy is pictured to mum’s left, holding the extra sarongs.

 

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