Mirriam has had an amazing experience in recent years in which she says that she has developed from ‘a simple farmer to a notable business owner’. Prior to receiving MicroLoan’s services, Mirriam relied on very small-scale farming to get by and as a result of this she often struggled to meet even the most basic needs of both herself and her family. With six children to look after, worrying about where to get money from was a large concern for Mirriam and this often made her life very stressful.
Realising that she was having ‘many problems to earn a living’, Mirriam decided that it was time to expand her horizons and decided ‘to do business in addition to farming’. She now runs a business in which she buys and sells plastic bags of different sizes in her local market which has resulted in her now making profits of up to K50,000 per week. Whilst she was only taking part in farming, the average income that Mirriam made was around K15,000. This is an increase in profit of over 300% and has had a huge impact upon Mirriam’s day-to-day life. As well as being able to meet the basic needs of her family such as purchasing food and clothing, she is now also able to pay for school fees and hospital bills when her children get sick. This remains a very difficult task for many Malawian families and highlights how far Mirriam has come. She’s also very happy that she’s been able to build a ‘modern house’ as a result of the income she now receives.
Always searching for opportunities, alongside her plastic bag selling stall, Mirriam also operates a private toilet for shoppers hurrying around the local market. In the future she would also like to expand her activities by opening up another shop, in which she would sell glycerine. This is a product that is frequently used for both skin and hair care within the country, and is very popular amongst Malawian women. So far Mirriam has been able to realise her business objectives due to MicroLoan’s consistent support, in terms of loan provision and business training, which has provided her with great insight into how to run a business. We hope that with our continued support that she will be able to realise her dream of opening a glycerine shop also.
Mirriam sees herself as an ‘independent woman’ and reveals that she is now revered as a ‘privileged person’ by many around her as her ‘lifestyle has improved greatly’. Whilst she is very pleased with her own success, she continues to look out for others who are less fortunate than her and notes that she sometimes supports people outside her family with the profits from her business. This evidences the claim that women are more likely to reinvest into their communities, and underpins one of the main reasons that we at The MicroLoan Foundation choose to work with a female demographic.