Mercy Banda

Mercy Banda is  25 years old and lives in a poor settlement near Nkhotakota, a trading station on the shores of Lake Malawi.

Like most people in the village, Mercy had no schooling to speak of because her parents couldn’t afford the fees. As she grew up the choices she faced were stark.

And, so she did what many young girls do: she got married to a fish trader and started a life as a subsistence farmer.  She grew what she could for food and used the rare surplus to barter or sell for other goods. When conditions on the lake were good her husband’s business provided some support. But, often there was little, or nothing, left over and everyday became a struggle to survive.

MicroLoan’s support

Five years ago, Mercy joined one of our agricultural loan groups. With an initial cash injection of £20 she was able to buy good quality seed and fertiliser for her small patch of land.

MicroLoan then invested another £80 to cover training that would help Mercy succeed. We taught her the basic principles of good land management, involving crop rotation, proper irrigation techniques and the careful management of pests. This enabled her to produce a greater variety of crops including maize, tomatoes and sweet potatoes. She was now able to generate surplus produce that she sold at local markets to provide a small income.

It couldn’t have come at a better time for Mercy because her own family was expanding and soon she had two young sons to feed. Now that their food supply was secure and they had a modest disposable income, she was able to start looking ambitiously towards a better future.

I want my sons to go to school and get a proper education. Who knows…one day they could become nurses, or even lawyers.  Joyce, one of the other ladies in my MicroLoan group, has been a great help; her business has been really successful and she has been able to put a proper water tight roof on her house. She’s also got electricity and a borehole and she even keeps goats! All her children go to school. She is a real businesswoman and I’d like to be as successful as that myself.”
                                                                                                                                               – Mercy Banda 

How you can make a difference

Last year, with your support, we were able to help 50,000 women like Mercy to learn how to help themselves. It doesn’t take much to set them off along the road to a better future. A donation of £100 would provide loans and training for someone like her for a whole year. They then would be one step closer to being self-sufficient. 

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