Despite providing over 70% of agricultural labor, women make up a mere 14% of the Zambian parliament. Female literacy is notably lower when compared to men, with only 64% being able to read in contrast to 82% of male literacy, notwithstanding huge gender issues in the country. The Zambian government recently enacted a law condoning violence against women.
It is against this backdrop of gender violence and social hardship that Esther is trying to forge a successful future for herself and her fellow Zambians by growing and expanding her already successful business through microfinance borrowing.
Esther runs a mobile money transfer business, earning commission from her customers’ transactions. With the microloan funded by joinFITE, she will be able to improve the services she offers to customers by employing an assistant. In doing so, she hopes to increase her profits to secure her own financial future.
Cambodia has an extremely checkered past in terms of its relations with basic human rights. The well-documented genocide at the hands of the Khmer Rouge is in the past, but widespread poverty and discrimination still haunts the present, with women’s rights continually marginalized. Many Cambodians live on $8 per day or less.
The fight for equal rights for women is still being fought on many fronts in Cambodia, and female entrepreneurs are assisting in this endeavor by achieving economic self-determination. Vanny has gained a great sense of empowerment by improving her agricultural business through the use of microfinance.
Vanny used the money she borrowed in order to buy more farmland so she is able to grow more rice for sale. By doing so, she is able to assist her three children with their schooling, with the hope that they can all be educated to graduate level. She aims to further secure the prosperity of her family by utilizing her increased profits to build a new home.
Female entrepreneurs have come to the fore in Kenya from necessity. Men have been migrating towards major cities in order to work, employment opportunities that are closed to women. As such, they are left behind to make the best of what is available in often deeply impoverished rural communities. This situation has proved to be a great call to arms for the women of Kenya, rising to the challenge of ensuring a future for themselves and their children.
Their entrepreneurial spirit has become immediately apparent, with the women of Kenya aiming to get the help they need to keep the rural communities alive. Fridah is playing her role in this gender shift by expanding her farming business in order to increase her income.
Fridah has used her loan to install an irrigation system to help water her banana farm more efficiently, allowing her to produce more crops. As her income grows, she intends to continue to improve her economic status by purchasing more land to further increase production. Fridah’s wish is to use the money she earns in to ensure her 13-year-old daughter is able to attend school and receive the best education possible.
The role that women play in the development of the state of Israel is a complex one. Some orthodox groups have publically sought to remove women’s rights to freedom, taking with it any chance of self-determination in economic prosperity. Women have recently been restricted to sitting in certain areas on public transport, as well as being removed from media positions.
In light of potentially disappearing freedoms, it is more important than ever that women in Israel are economically empowered. Sonia is looking to safeguard her right to the pursuit of prosperity by expanding her already successful cosmetics business.
Sonia has always sought to improve herself. Apart from working as a nurse, she has been supplementing her income via her cosmetics business, built on the knowledge base gained from undergoing business training. The microloan has helped Sonia expand her range of stock, allowing her to expand her client base and secure a positive future for her four children.
Women are at the forefront of development in Rwanda. The genocide of the early 1990s subjected the country’s women to the horrors of sexual violence and rape on a grand scale, while wiping out much of the male population entirely. As a result, women make up 55% of the workforce in Rwanda, as well as holding the majority of seats in the now democratically elected parliament, a world first.
Epiphanie is one of the women charged with furthering the economic development of the country, and by investing in her potential, she can help in building a bright future for her family, and the nation of Rwanda.
Epiphanie juggles her business with raising her three children. She has been running a butcher’s shop for eight years, and a joinFITE microloan has allowed her to expand her business to ensure ongoing prosperity for her family. Consequently, with the money earned from her newly expanded stock, she will be able to build a home for her family.
Featured Entrepreneur: Phalla
Phalla is a 37-year-old wife and mother of three who resides in the Takeo Province of Cambodia. For over 10 years she has grown rice and sold it as a means of caring for her family. In hopes of expanding her income, she will use her loan to purchase a generator so she can run an electricity providing business for her village.
In addition to looking forward to expanding her business, Phalla would like to help her children receive bachelor’s degrees, and building a concrete house to provide better living conditions for her family.