Our first full year has been a good start for the MicroLoan Foundation in Australia – and 2009 has been a great year for Malawians who have been able to borrow small sums of money from us.
We opened our first Australian office in Mulanje earlier this year (see previous post), and we’re pleased to report that Joseph Kaipa, our loans officer there, has been busy!
To date, Joseph has organized
- More than 500 individual loans to women in more than 30? rural villages scattered around the tea growing area of Mulanje
- The average loan is A$82 (and historically at least A$81 of this will be repaid to lend out again)
- Businesses operated by our clients range from selling maize, to running small grocery stores, to cooking food, to even making beer!
- To date no loan has defaulted ie 100% recovery rate
- The oldest borrower is 67 and the youngest is 18!
- Thanks to these loans, 2,165 dependents are being supported, including 243 orphans.
April 30 was our official launch date, or Awareness Day, which we held in Martin Place Sydney. Despite appalling weather on the day, we got great coverage from local and state radio and we were even interviewed by Sky Business News who realise just how this type of lending is revolutionizing the world of the poor.
In May two of our team were fortunate enough to be invited to hear Dr Muhammud Yunus (the Founding Father of the microcredit concept) present to the British Council in London, and one of them had the privilege of meeting the man himself!
By the way, Dr Yunus was interviewed on ABC TV recently by one of Australia’s most intelligent interviewers, Andrew Denton on his ‘Elders’ program. The interview is a great insight into the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner, as explains how microloans can really help tackle poverty in poor countries.
During the year various formal and informal fundraisers were run, but perhaps the most interesting was when one of our volunteer directors, Clive Hughes, entered the road race for the World Masters Games being held in Sydney. Apparently it was one of the hardest events he had ever entered due to strong winds and even stronger competition! Nevertheless in the end he raised more than $1,000, which is enough for 12 new loans affecting 60 people.