Families are being forced to rely on scarce natural resources to survive but with MicroLoan’s support they can create a more sustainable livelihood.
Alice, Potifala and their three young children live in a small village on the outskirts of the Dzalanyama Forest Reserve in Malawi.
The couple, like most of their community, rely on two things for survival. Subsistence farming and selling charcoal and firewood cut from the nearby forest reserve. This is the only way they know how to provide for their family. But the use of wood from the forest reserve is causing deforestation, soil erosion and is pushing the community further into poverty.
MicroLoan is working in partnership with a wildlife and environmental conservation organisation to change this. We help families like Alice and Potifala’s create alternative livelihoods. This gives them an opportunity to prosper not just survive, and preserve the forest that is so important to the community.
Alice is taking part in business training and has taken out a small loan from MicroLoan to start a business selling dried fish. The couple are working together to make their business succeed. Anything that Alice learns in her training she goes on to teach her husband.
“We run the business together and when Alice attends training she teaches me what she has learnt. She is a very good teacher.” – Potifala, Alice’s husband.
Potifala travels the 40 km to Lilongwe to purchase produce and Alice sells this from a stall in their village. It has been less than a year since Alice began receiving support from MicroLoan. Her business is continuing to go from strength to strength.
Prior to joining MicroLoan the couple earned just £20 per month and struggled to provide for their children. Now they earn nearly £200 each month from their new fish business. They no longer have to resort to selling firewood to earn an income. As part of her training Alice has learnt how to construct and use a fireless stove, further reducing the family’s reliance on the reserve’s resources.
Life is starting to change for Alice and her family. The children eat regular nutritious meals and can attend school. The business is allowing them to save. She has bought a plot of land and is building a house to rent out. Alice hopes to start a second business running a grocery store.
Alice and Potifala are creating a sustainable and expanding business. As they move out of poverty, they become more resilient to the effects of climate change and natural disasters. Something that will help them create a brighter and more secure future for their young children.
There are many more families who are still struggling and they need your help.