Maretha Steven is the secretary of the Alinafe group in Tchawale, Malawi, a MicroLoan group of three local female business owners. She has five children under the age of 21 and is newly married to a maize and tobacco farmer.
Maretha joined us a year and a half ago and accessed a loan of 60,000 MK (£63). Starting off with humble beginnings selling fritters, our loan has enabled her to expand her business by opening a small grocery shop.
With the profits that were made from her business, Maretha has invested in a piece of land. Her hopes for the future are to build a house for her and her family here.
Maretha and her husband made a joint decision to take out a maize loan as they wanted to fight back against the tradition that men should make the decisions about farming.
In sub-Saharan Africa, it is widely accepted that men are to be responsible for finances, whilst the women oversee unpaid domestic duties. Often shut out from earning and controlling an income, over 145million women don’t even have a bank account.
Yet, we have empowered Maretha to run her business independently by earning and managing her own money to support her family.
The Benefits of a Maize Loan
Maretha didn’t want to spend the loan on food, she wanted to be able to sustain the needs of her family long-term, which is what led her to a maize loan.
The maize loan has provided Maretha with training and support for her maize crop. To make sure that her crop would perform to its best yield, she was given seeds, fertilisers, herbicides and agricultural training, specific to the size of her land.
A maize crop gives increased food security to Maretha and her family throughout the famine season. Life without this crop would look bleak, as they would have little hope of surviving on their own when food is scarce.
Natural factors such as flooding and drought pose as major threats to the harvest. Just last year, Africa suffered from the worst famine since 1985, leaving thousands of Malawians with nothing left.
Maretha is so thankful for the opportunities that we have been able to give her. She said: “MicroLoan Foundation has helped me provide food and basic necessities and helped me buy land so that one day I will be able to build a home for myself and my family”.
Make a difference today
There are so many ways that you can get involved to support some of the most disadvantaged women in the world in earning a living. Whether you’d like to partner with us, raise money for us, join our team or take part in one of our exciting fundraising events, take a look around our website to find out more about us.