Lister Sialwindi had no income of her own, and as a result, no independence. She also could not afford to send her two children, aged four and nine, to school.
With a loan and business training from MicroLoan Foundation, Lister is now a thriving entrepreneur at just 28 years old. She has taken out three loans with MicroLoan, investing them in growing her successful cosmetics business which she runs at a market in Kalomo.
Lister proudly told the MicroLoan team that her business has given her financial independence and she now able to rent her own apartment. Her children, now attending school full-time, have been given the opportunity to reach their full potential. Lister is now able to take care of her mother too, who she bought from the village to live with her and her children.
She tells us that her life has changed in a lot of ways thanks to the support from MicroLoan Foundation:
“The business has grown big thanks to a lot of capital. I am financially independent and able to pay for my children’s education. One day I want to see them go to college and get good jobs for themselves.”
However, Lister relies on imported products to stock her cosmetics stall, which means she has felt the detrimental effects of Zambia’s financial crisis, compounded by the pandemic. Borders remain closed so cross-border trade is interrupted and supply chains are broken, making it difficult for Lister to access stock. She has felt first-hand how the rapidly devaluating local currency causes prices of imported goods to increase dramatically.
Despite these challenges, Lister perseveres. She tells us that there is still a high demand for her products and her business remains profitable and successful. Since she joined MicroLoan, her weekly income has doubled (from ZMW 4000 to ZMW 8000).
It is with huge thanks to the Whole Planet Foundation that this was all possible. Dedicated to poverty alleviation around the world, Whole Planet have been partnered with MicroLoan in Zambia since 2015. With Whole Planet’s support, MicroLoan were able to reach Lister, empowering her to become independent.