Overcoming Obstacles to Success
You wouldn’t know it from her confident smile, but Malawi business owner, farmer, provider for six grandchildren, and microfinance entrepreneur Ifgenia has had her share of struggles.
She was hit by a car and disabled. Her husband passed away from heart problems. Her son and two daughters also died, leaving Ifgenia with five orphaned children in her care. These children depend on her for everything: food, shelter, clothing, and the opportunity to gain an education.
It was a "headache", she says, trying to find odd jobs to support her family from week to week.
Things changed for the better when she and other women in her village began to save together and get loans from World Vision’s microfinance arm, VisionFund.
Ifgenia used her first loan of 20,000 Kwacha ($500) to buy seeds, fertilizer, and tools to start farming. Soon she repaid the loan and decided to expand. With a second loan she bought a bike and a cow, giving her milk to sell and a mode of transportation to get her goods to market. A third loan funded the purchase of piglets.
Now that she can feed her family and send the children to school with the money she makes, Ifgenia has big plans for her business—and her grandchildren’s future.
"I hope to improve my business [so that I can] improve my house,” she says. “There are many leaks and things to be fixed so that my grandchildren have a good home."
"My dream [for my grandchildren] is that they are the best in their class, that they finish school,” Ifgenia says, “because I never did.”
Photo credit: 2013 Jon Snyder/World Vision
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