Small Loans that Make a Big Difference
Making loans as low as $100 changes the lives of hardworking entrepreneurs—mostly women—in developing countries by giving them a way to start or expand local businesses and, more importantly, provide for their families. Our partnership with online microfinance broker MicroPlace (www.microplace.com) is expanding opportunities to invest in microfinance, which Calvert Foundation investors have been doing now for 15 years.
Alice Reta, a 33-year-old Kenyan woman, lives with her husband, grandmother, and nine children. Through a microloan from Calvert Foundation partner Kenya Women’s Finance Trust, she has been able to set up a small shop that gives her the income necessary to support her family and send her children to school.
Alice and her family suffered during a bout of violence in her region in 2008, during which they lost many things – including her previous business and their home. Though all of her family survived this period, one of her children lost an eye during “the chaos” and must travel to Nairobi for ongoing medical treatment.
With a loan of 20,000 shillings (about $250), Alice’s new business is growing. “I want to give my children food and to buy them clothes,” Alice said. “I pray for us to be together and to be able to educate them and give them the necessities.”
© Photo by Richard Lord for Calvert Foundation
Microfinance & Women: Facts
Financing a Mobile Vegetable Stand in India
For more than 20 years, Manar Prasad was a wagon-puller. On any given day Prasad could be seen loading his rented cart with luggage boxes and peddling it all over his home city of Patna, India. Pounding rain, scorching heat or distances of up to sixty kilometers couldn’t stop Prasad’s wagon. But a decline in business did. “There were days,” says Prasad, “that I’d wait with my cart until 7pm, without a single customer.”
So Prasad decided to switch gears and, together with his wife, set his sights on opening a mobile vegetable stand. With the help of Saija Finance, a microfinance lender that is supported by Calvert Foundation borrower ACCION, Prasad first secured a 100 dollar loan. Those one hundred dollars went farther than Prasad’s wagon ever could. Today, Prasad’s business is spreading to neighboring towns and, as he is proud to report, his destination is finally within reach.
© Photo by Jon Rae for ACCION