It’s because it was International Women’s Day this week that I wanted to do so.
I am enormously proud to support Lucy through MicroLoan Foundation Australia, an Aussie charity that provides small loans to women in regional Malawi so they can start or grow their own businesses.
Not just that, they get valuable training in how to work in groups and how to run their business, from guidance in marketing to understanding profit and the importance of savings.
For many, it’s the first time someone has believed in them.
Basically because they are poor…
…and they are women.
I captured Lucy’s words through a translator as we sat in a half-finished mud brick room in December 2014 in a small village in southern Malawi.
This is her story:
Standing in front of her shiny green bicycle, Lucy Mponda looks very proud.
The 45-year-old has gone through six loan cycles to establish and expand her second-hand clothing business and she has had much success.
Indeed, she has managed to buy two bicycles and uses one for her own transportation and the other she has given to her son so he can start his own bicycle taxi business.
“Before my loan, my business didn’t have the support of any capital so I was not able to make a profit,” she said.
“But now I have improved life for my family and I have no problems feeding my family anymore.”
Lucy, who lives in a small village called Maliera near the Mozambican border, has six children. Her husband recently passed away.
She is a member of the Dodo lending group, one of 25 women in the group who take pride in supporting one another and paying back their loans on time.
Lucy has also managed to build two houses with savings and profits from her small business.
“They have iron sheets and rafters,” she explains proudly. “I plan to rent one of the houses but at the moment my son who recently married is staying in one with his family until he builds his own.”
Ah Lucy, my hat goes off to you and I wish you all the luck in the world. Her story is so much longer and more complex than what I have shared. Unfortunately I only had a few hours with her and the other amazing women.
During March, in honour of IWD and the Dodo women, I am doubling the donation I usually give on every pair of shoes sold.
That’s twice as many women like Lucy who can now get on with growing their business, supporting their families and being recognised as leaders in their community.
Until next time
Carol & CCx