Stories of Success from Malawi
MargretMargret Lazaro lived in a mud thatched hut in rural Malawi but not by choice. She was the picture of poverty, vulnerability and marginalization. Her friends used to think she was an unbelievable dreamer, always talking about and fantasizing that someday she would own a brick house with corrugated roof.
The day Margret joined an ASAP Savings Group her life began to change. She began saving regularly and taking loans to boost her income generating activities. She worked hard and never lost sight of her dream. After only two years, she has been able to build that dream house - brick with corrugated roof. She now has a decent home environment for her family.
This is one of many stories of women who were able to turn their lives around by participating in an ASAP Savings Group. Hundreds of women have met their survival needs, acquired disposable income and started investing in long term assets. With just a little help and hard work, dreams do become a reality.
It was tough to make those contributions at first, but she’d heard success stories of other women in her village, so she stuck with it. When ASAP began offering training about running a small business, Stella studied hard.
After about six months, Stella got a loan for $30 to start a business. Well that was the change point in Stella’s life. She now owns a thriving business selling dry fish, eggs, tomato and processed groceries. Her business is now worth US$250.
Stella is now a happy woman. She commands respect in her home, in the community and most importantly, she now has self-respect.
Women With Vision
The cycle of poverty appears perpetual for most women in Mwanza District of rural Malawi. Here women rarely contribute income to the family; destined to a life of unpaid servitude and hard labor – farming, cooking, collecting firewood, carrying water - in order to care for the children. When twelve of these women, who desperately wanted to better provide for their children, formed an ASAP Savings Group in 2010, they named their group Masophenya (Vision).
Six months later, these women who had never seen more than 5000 Kwacha ($33) at one time, had saved over 100,000 Kwacha. That’s when one of the women, Mai Lasten, took a MK6500 loan to start a small business and now proudly talks about her successful shop at every opportunity. Today she has no trouble paying school fees or buying fertilizer to grow nutritious food for her family.
Never underestimate the power of twelve desperately poor women with hope and a vision!