Joyce is fairly new to MicroLoan; she is in the middle of her second loan cycle. Before Joyce knew about MicroLoan Foundation, like most other rural Malawian, she and her husband Hashim were subsistence farmers. They had a small patch of land and just about produced enough maize and cassava to feed their four children and themselves.

When Joyce heard about MicroLoan Foundation, she applied for a loan to set up a small shop in the village where she would sell tea and bread. Like many of the women we work with, Joyce is lucky to have her husband’s support in her business ventures. Hashim buys the bread from a market five miles away, bringing back about 20 loaves each day on his bicycle. Meanwhile, Joyce brews the tea and looks after the shop.

Joyce acknowledges the importance of education; she stayed at primary school until she was nearly 18 years old so that she could read, write and count properly. Today, she is an eager participant in the group training sessions led by Richard, the MicroLoan Branch Manager. The group sessions are a joyous occasion, starting and ending with singing and dancing.

It is still early days for Joyce and Hashim, and there are many ways in which she might choose to develop her business to increase profits; she might start baking her own bread, or expand the range of products she sells in the shop.

At the moment though, Joyce and Hashim are enjoying the business, and are saving money so they can build a larger house to fit their family more comfortably.