Rural poverty is endemic across Malawi. Reliance on subsistence farming in a volatile environment leaves families at risk, and this is something Matrida and her husband are painfully aware of.
Before joining MicroLoan the family relied on farming to survive. When they suffered bad harvests Matrida was forced to beg and borrow from people in her village in order to feed her family. In 2016 the situation became desperate.
Taking a risk
During 2015 and 2016 Malawi was hit with severe floods. These were followed by an extended drought that saw the country facing the worst famine in 30 years. In desperate need Matrida and her husband decided to sell whatever crops they had and set up a grocery business to generate income. With no guarantee that this would be successful they took a huge risk. Selling these crops put the family’s food security at risk, but Matrida was determined to start a business, reduce their reliance on farming and provide a more consistent source of income.
Her innovative and entrepreneurial thinking was the first step to changing her family’s trajectory and giving them greater opportunities. However, with limited knowledge about business planning and demand their grocery struggled to make money and support the family.
Matrida realised she needed help and she heard about MicroLoan Foundation when one of our Loan & Training Officers (LTOs) came to inform the community about our services. She decided to join one of our loan groups to help re-start her grocery business and make it a success. Matrida learnt important lessons on developing a business plan, conducting market research and calculating profits.
“The training helped me become the best entrepreneur I could be.”
– Matrida Phiri
Now Matrida’s life is starting to turn around. She no longer has to beg and instead earns a reliable weekly profit. This allows her to afford her basic necessities, feed her family and buy books and uniforms for her children. She has now become a role model for other women and people regularly ask her for help and advice.
After taking her LTO’s advice to start saving Matrida has been able to buy fertiliser for her maize garden helping increase her yields, ensuring the family’s food security. She has also been able to purchase a couple of goats to further improve the family’s income generation.
Life as an entrepreneur
Matrida’s success as an entrepreneur has helped increase her confidence and her feeling of worth. She now has brighter hopes for her future. She wants to diversify her stock and build a permanent structure so that she doesn’t have to store the stock at her house every night.
Continuing to support their children’s education is important to Matrida and her husband. They don’t want the children to grow up in poverty. Matrida dreams of them becoming nurses and bankers so they have better opportunities in their lives.
It is only because of your support that we are able to continue to change the lives of women just like Matrida. She is one of our #WomenWhoInspire. Learn more about our movement to celebrate women and how you get involved to be part of our clients inspiring journeys here.