Rachel Mbata is not your typical MicroLoan Foundation (MLF) client. In order to provide her family with a smooth ride into a happy future, she set up a bicycle shop and offers spare parts and repairs to cyclists in the Monze District of Zambia.
Rachel left school when she was 13 years old and had her first child five years later. She has six children ranging in age from 3 to sixteen years, and is financially responsible for 10 people. Rachel explains that, because she did not finish school, starting a business was the only way for her to survive and support her family. As a result, she opened up a small shop selling bicycle parts.
Rachel faced a few challenges at first. For one, she had little knowledge of how to run a business which meant that her business was not doing well. She had difficulty marketing her products. However, with MLF’s training and support from the women in her loan group, she quickly learned how to best manage her business and attract customers.
Now in her fifth loan cycle, Rachel has made a name for herself. Her business is growing from strength to strength, and her weekly profits have increased dramatically from ZK700 to ZK4,000. Thanks to this nearly six-fold jump in profits, Rachel has purchased two big plots of land and expanded her business through purchasing two premises in which to set up shop. She also expects that with her support, her children will be able to attend university and become responsible citizens in the community. What is more, she now employs three people and therefore provides them with the opportunity to work their own way out of poverty as well.
Rachel is enthusiastic about the future. Her business’ success means that she and her family are not only surviving, they are thriving.