Grace took a microfinance bank loan, now her business is booming
Grace is a businesswoman living with her husband and six children in Asenema, Ghana. Since taking a microfinance loan, Grace has been able to build her business, which has gone from strength to strength and given her financial independence.
Grace was having a difficult time after the establishing her shop and when things did not improve, she decided to go to Accra to find work. Whilst in Accra, Grace discovered that she was pregnant and returned to Asenema to give birth.
When she was back in Asenema, Grace heard about The Hunger Project’s work and was immediately intrigued: “I involved myself in their meetings and most of the activities they were implementing. I took a loan form the microfinance bank and started to process maize dough to sell,” she explains. This enabled her to repay the loan and receive further loans to help her expand her business. Grace believes that without The Hunger Project’s microfinance programme, she would not have been able expand her shop.
“Previously I had to ask for money from my husband to buy food for the children, but now, with my own business, I am not depending on my husband anymore. I am happy and proud of the shop I have now, very proud.”
However, Grace still thinks there is room for improvement: “I have a lot of customers. There are still a few items that I don’t have in my shop that people are asking for, so I’m looking forward to expanding even more to be able to meet the demand,” she says.
Although the response has been mostly positive, Grace says that there is some suspicion among the community that she has been able to get the loan because of some witchcraft or voodoo, but she does not get angry or upset. When someone comes into the shop and asks if it is true that she is using the loan to expand the business, she says yes. She tells them: “I am a real hardworking businesswoman; I grind and mill the maize myself.”
Education is very important to Grace, and she is happy that one of her children has completed secondary school and another is studying there at the moment. Despite not having the opportunity to go to school herself, Grace know the importance of sharing the knowledge she has learnt from The Hunger Project’s meetings and workshops. She encourages other women to save money to accumulate some capital to be able to start a business.
“When I observes that a girl or woman has potential, I approach them and teach them about the steps that I took myself, so that they also will be able to take those steps.”
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Words by Claire Robilliard