Mary Phiri, aged 36, is married to Martin Ndoio. They have five children (2 boys and 3 girls; the oldest 13 years old) and they live right near the Manymula Trading Centre in rural Malawi.
Canaan Gondwe, the local SIA Small Business Fund coordinator, met with Mary and Martin several times to listen to them and hear their challenges. They had moved to the Trading Centre with nothing, they lived on little or no food at times, and their family life was often unhappy. Mary would spend days begging or looking around for food.
“I explained to them about all of us being created in the image of God and that God wishes us well. I further talked about the potential within them,” says Gondwe. He used the locally-developed evaluation criteria and invited the family to receive a small grant to start a business “because of the insecurities that hovered over the household and because of the hard-working spirit that both showed.”
Soon after recruitment into the project, the family opened a shop at Manyamula Trading Centre. With the disbursement of $100 they purchased soap, cooking oil, sugar and other household items in bulk to sell at the outdoor market.
Canaan recently wrote with joy of their success, “Both the husband and wife worked extrememly hard and have in three months managed to raise a remarkable profit. Things at home have begun changing positively. Now they have enough food and they have even bought the furniture for their house (dining table and six chairs).
The profit has also pair for school uniforms for their children. Although elementary education is free in Malawi families must pay for uniforms.
I think we can all agree with Canaan when he says, “This is a big change indeed.” In just a short time, the family has managed to create a welcoming home and to better support one other. And this is only the beginning, “Now that they have received the 2nd grant of $50, I hope that more change will take place as I mentor them over the next year.”
This is the power of the Small Business Fund.