The odds were stacked against Madalitso Nkhoma.
She left school at 13 and gave birth to her first child a few years later. Young women in Malawi often end their schooling early and are married young in order to relieve the financial burden on their parents.
There aren’t many jobs or available capital for women, even moreso for those living in remote villages with little or no access to formal banking services.
Madalitso sure tried though. After the birth of her first child, she opened a hair salon to alleviate some of the mounting financial pressure on her husband. Her business struggled due to lack of capital and she couldn’t attract enough customers to cover her costs.
A friend told her about MicroLoan and after a few months of training in financial literacy and business, Madalitso learned how market research can help her keep her salon in high demand and how to stand out from her competitors. She invested her first loan in hair dryers, straighteners and weaves, which secured her many more customers.
Now 31, Madalitso is on her sixth loan cycle, her weekly profits have doubled and she has one paid employee.
When chatting to the MicroLoan team, Madalitso had high praise for her Loan and Training Officer who delivered training and mentoring. She said this gave her the confidence to independently manage her income and savings, re-investing her profits for growth.
With her new income, Madalitso can pay for her children’s education (she has two children aged 15 and nine and cares for one orphan) and she also supports family members who have been severely impacted by COVID-19.
She has also saved enough money to build a new home for her family. Can you imagine how proud she must be?
Madalitso has big plans. She wants to further diversify her shop to include the sale of cosmetics and make-up.
Above all else, she dreams of seeing her children prosper. Indeed, she often takes her teenage daughter to the salon to teach her all she has learned about running her own successful business.
“My wish is for my children to finish school, so that their choices aren’t limited. I want them to have access to the opportunities I never had.”
A COVID-19 Update:
In Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe where we work, the pandemic continues to wreak havoc, devastating communities and livelihoods.
In response, we have been busy:
COVID-19 spares no one.
Right now in Australia, millions of people are in lockdown and our heart goes out to them. If you have been or are affected, we send you strength, hope and our very best wishes.
Published on: 03/08/2021