by Paul Hamlin
27 April, 2012
Victoria Banda, Zambia
Yesterday in Zambia I visited a branch to talk to our lending staff, when Priscilla, our Lend a Hand representative, saw a client she knew and introduced me. Hearing her story made it easier for me to stay up a little longer last night to finish my work.
Victoria Banda (36, on the right of the photo standing next to her mother) did not finish primary or secondary school. She is now the main income earner for her household and lives with her parents, and two sisters. In 2001 she borrowed $20 to expand food sales through her storefront. Over the years she has managed to continually grow and improve her business, now operated out of a store in front of her home, expand the family house and even acquire a rental property. In the meantime, her younger sister was able to complete college with Victoria’s financial support.
Asked if FINCA helped her, she replied enthusiastically “Yes.” She then spoke about how slowly she was able to build up her business and that her role in her family has grown along with her business. As a single person without children her business transformed her into what she described as the ‘pillar’ of her family, supporting her mother and close relatives when they are in need.
I then asked if she could have envisioned this over ten years ago when she started with FINCA and she said “Definitely not. I’m a landlord now! Can you imagine?” Her energy and determination combined with our loans allowed her to improve her home, help her younger sister through college and acquire other property that provides her rental income.”
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