Dorothy is a dedicated client of The MicroLoan Foundation who has so far received nine loans from our organisation. She is a member of the ‘Tamandani Credit Group’ based in Dowa, who began her venture into enterprise following the untimely death of her husband. When he passed away, Dorothy ‘was facing many problems’ and notes that ‘there was nobody’ that could support her. With four children of her own and a total of ten people financially depending upon her, she realised that she needed to take control of the situation. She decided to establish a small baking business in which she bakes and sells both bread and scones. You can see Dorothy standing proudly next to her produce in the photo above.
Whilst Dorothy had the initiative to realise that she needed to begin her own business in order to support herself and her family, she was met with a number of challenges when she first started the bakery. Despite being full of determination, she seriously lacked the capital that was required to grow her business and ensure it remained profitable. Furthermore, Dorothy also felt that she did not have sufficient knowledge and experience on how to run a bakery and this concerned her regarding the future of her business.
It was with these worries in mind that Dorothy decided to become involved with The MicroLoan Foundation. Prior to receiving any support from the charity, the weekly profit of Dorothy’s bakery remained at around K10,000, the equivalent to just under £10. As a result of the loans and training that she has received from MicroLoan, Dorothy now brings home K36,000 weekly profit. With this money, she is able to meet the basic needs of her family and also pay school fees for her children’s education. This is incredibly important to Dorothy, as one of her main wishes is to help her children ‘to be responsible citizens by ensuring that they are well educated’. She has also acquired a piece of land which she now farms, which contributes towards the food security of her family.
Whilst the success of Dorothy’s business has made an impact upon her immediate circle, it has also had wider ramifications for the community. As the bakery has grown, Dorothy has had to take on extra help and now employs one other person within the business. This isn’t the end of her expansion plans either; in the future she plans to diversify her trade and open up a hardware shop within the local area. For Dorothy, it is MicroLoan’s ‘timely loan provision’ and the training that has been given which have helped her to grow as a business woman and develop such exciting aspirations.
So what do others in Dorothy’s community think about her decision to become a business women? Dorothy says people ‘are now admiring me that I made a wise decision rather than to stay at home waiting for some handouts’. She has even become a source of inspiration to many women around her, and states that her progress ‘acts as an encouragement… that it is possible that a woman can be independent and compete with men by doing business’. She is proud to be regarded as a successful individual within her community and knows now that many people respect her. Dorothy sums up her fortunate situation with one sentence: ‘I am doing well’.