Rose Banda is from the small rural village of Chitowe, in the lake district of Nkhotakota, Malawi. She and her husband farm to provide for their four children.
Dreams of an Education
Although Rose and Stanford both received a secondary school education, neither of them passed their final exams. This certificate holds the key to higher paid, salaried jobs in the country and is needed for further education. Unfortunately, without this certificate, Rose and Stanford were unable to gain reliable formal employment so began working in agriculture.
Farming in Malawi
It can be an unpredictable way to earn money but due to limited access to education and employment opportunities many people in Malawi have no other choice but to rely on farming.
Farmers often grow crops of rice, maize, groundnuts, and cassava to feed their family and any leftover produce is sold at local markets to help generate income. Before joining us, Rose was unable to harvest enough to provide for her family. This often left them hungry and unable to afford their basic necessities. They could no longer afford their children’s school fees. They wanted their children to have more opportunities than they had so Rose decided to seek support from MicroLoan.
The beginnings of the Chitowe group
Rose is one of the pioneers who set up the Chitowe group in 2011 when people in her community heard about MicroLoan from farmers at the trading market. This prompted Rose and other aspiring female entrepreneurs from her village to visit our office in Nhkotakota town to find out how MicroLoan could help. They needed at least ten women to start a loan group, and there were no problems in drumming up interest.
“There were many people in the village who were interested, and a loan officer came to the village to speak to the tribal village leader to get his approval. The village leader was delighted and welcomed MicroLoan’s support and the group were able to start their training and the women received loans to buy fertilizer, seeds, and herbicides.”
Thanks to the training on farming efficiency and the fertilizer that she bought with the loan, Rose can now harvest nearly three times more rice per day and is grateful to harvest two healthy rice crops a year.
This increase in crops has allowed her and Stanford place their children back in school and start making improvements to their family home. So far, our support has helped the couple to save half of the money they need to purchase a corrugated iron roof to protect their home.
Rose and Stanford hope to continue to grow their income and savings so their children can go to secondary school and give them a chance at a brighter and more prosperous future.
Stanford told us, “If our son does well in the primary school exam and gets selected to go to secondary school we will work even harder to make sure he succeeds. If one of our children would get a tertiary education, we would be very happy”.
You can change a life with a Giving Gift
There are many ways to support people like Rose and Stanford as they work to lift themselves and their families’ way out of poverty. There is still time to purchase a Giving Gift from our Season of Giving store this Christmas. Every gift purchased will help people just like Rose and Stanford. Take a look around the store and give the gift of hope this Christmas