Until 2013, Jennifer was struggling to access basic things for her family like food and soap. As a single mum of 5 children, she was earning very little. She relied on growing maize to eat, with no way of buying inputs for commercial farming or other business activities. Her house was very small, and thatched with grass, which leaked terribly. No one was getting much sleep in the rainy season.
In 2013 Jennifer teamed up with 20 others and formed a village bank, and received weekly support from a trainer, who led them through the whole process.
Jennifer began to use small loans to buy skirts and ingredients to make fried doughnuts. She made a good profit selling them, and was able to start building a bigger house.
By the end of the first year, she had saved £80 – the largest amount of cash she had ever held in her hands. With it she bought a proper iron roof for her new home, and a solar panel. Her family is now dry, and has access to electricity – a dream she never thought would come true.
In 2014 Jennifer managed to save another £87. She bought a pig, which has had 5 piglets. She has also bought 2 goats, which have had 3 kids. Becoming a livestock owner is a huge achievement – the animals provide good security. In time of need they can be converted to cash, and are a crucial source of fertiliser for her crops.
Just recently, Jennifer’s village bank completed another saving period – she accumulated £160. She has bought fertiliser and seeds. Next year is looking bright – she is likely to produce a surplus and earn some good income.
Jennifer’s dream is to open a big clothes shop, and put glass in her windows. We have no doubt it won’t be too long before she has achieved both.