In rural Malawi, where Esther Fabiano lives, only 10 percent of rural Malawi students complete secondary school. But Esther has big dreams for her son. She wants him to graduate, so he can go on to attend college. Esther knows education is a powerful tool for fighting poverty. But in order to get her son the schooling he needs, Esther needed to earn money for his tuition. She had to go on her own learning journey as well.
Eighty percent of Malawi’s population relies on agriculture for its income and survival. Storms, droughts and accidents can destroy a family’s security in seconds. Esther was trying to earn extra money—and stability—for her family by selling cakes and grilled meat, but she didn’t have the resources she needed to make her business profitable.
Women in Malawi struggle to gain access to capital and markets. Tools that American entrepreneurs might take for granted (access to electricity, credit cards, business loans and the Internet) aren’t readily available in Malawi’s villages. Other barriers—including gender-based violence and a lack of representation in governmental leadership roles—make it even harder for Malawi’s female entrepreneurs to get ahead.
Thanks to donations to Cross International, Esther was able to take advantage of an empowering program run by one of our partner organizations, the Ambuya Development Center. The program teaches local women how to run a profitable small business at an average cost of just $39 per participant. Esther was welcomed into a supportive network of female entrepreneurs and given access to a two-year cycle of microloans to help her increase her earning potential.
Esther began by borrowing $13 to buy a pig. Through a system called kuvuula, she loans the pig to her neighbors to breed and receives half the piglets. She sells those piglets for cash to pay for her son’s school tuition. Following business best practices, Esther then diversified. She began purchasing and reselling food and took out a second microloan to buy two cows. She used some of her profits to buy and install solar-powered security lights to keep her growing business safe.
Because of your generosity to Cross International, Esther can afford to educate her son. That education will have a life-long impact on their family and their community. When you give to the Thriving Kids Africa campaign, you are giving to proven church-based programs that help families like Esther’s escape poverty—and know God’s love.
Sources: “Women’s Economic Empowerment and Equality: Malawi.” USAID. Accessed 12 November, 2019.
“The World Bank in Malawi,” The World Bank. Accessed 12 November, 2019.
“School Completion Rates,” Unicef. November 2019.