With its focus on sustainability and empowerment, Lalmba believes in the strength of its microloan programs. Selected participants at our projects in Kenya and Ethiopia work with a local volunteer to design and implement a small business plan. There are shopkeepers, mechanics, café owners, and merchants who sell items at market. There are farmers, carpenters and tailors. With a careful screening and monitoring process, we have a 100% repayment rate on our loans! Talk about a successful business model for these communities!
With a simple stroll down the street in these towns, you will find many motivated people to shake your hand, people who have the desire and ability to be self-sufficient, but not the financial means to get started. This is one area where Lalmba has a truly dramatic power to change lives and transform communities.
Fatima Abagero, a single mother in Chiri, Ethiopia, received 2000 EB from Lalmba (about $100 USD). With it she bought teff to make Ethiopian bread, rice, and spices to sell at market. Now she has opened a restaurant on the main street in Chiri, where she sells injera and stew, coffee, juice, cheese and sodas. On market days she sells raw coffee beans, grains, and spices in the marketplace. A member of Lalmba staff visits her monthly to assess her progress, and she pays monthly towards her loan. She reports that before receiving her loan, she would get day labor jobs when she could, hauling sacks on her back to and from market, and when needed she would beg for food or money at the market. Today she stays very busy working her restaurant and selling products at the market. She is happy that she and her children are no longer hungry. A life changed dramatically for $100 dollars! Now that is sustainable change we can invest in with confidence.
To ensure success, loan applicants must participate in Lalmba-sponsored business classes that teach basic business design, accounting and finance skills before any loan is awarded. Mentoring from Lalmba staff continues throughout the life of the loan.
The loan amounts are small ($100, $200, $500), but important because this provides individuals with the necessary cash to start a new life.
New loans are not given until every single loan from the prior year is repaid. This means that local people who are hoping for new loans make sure all their neighbors’ loans are repaid. Local empowerment at its best!
….And we are growing!
We are expanding our microloan program to empower RCAR families in the near future, to reduce their need for food support.