Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Mutendolo Family's Microloan Success Story

Beracah, Zambia — Dickson and Mary Mutendolo were in the first group of families to join Beracah’s microloan program in 2009. Together they care for eight children including six adopted orphans.

For a number of years, Beracah has been supporting one of their orphans with school fees and school supplies. However, next year the family will be graduated off of the school support program. As part of the self-sufficiency approach, Beracah now limits the length of time it will keep an orphan on education support. Instead the organization focuses on income generation for the families they are helping.

Mary and Dickson participated in a variety of trainings held by Beracah including business management and vegetable, poultry and maize production. In 2009, the family was trained in vegetable production and for the past three years, they have been managing a kitchen garden. The vegetables are mostly used for the household, selling only about $30 worth of vegetables last year. They tell us that vegetable seeds are hard to come by so it is difficult to expand the garden to produce more vegetables to sell. The family was also trained in village poultry production. Last year they lost a large portion of their flock to the poultry disease called New Castle. Still, they managed to sell about $40 worth of birds.

The main source of income for the family is their maize fields. In 2009, thanks to the training and loan capital provided by Beracah, the family planted half a hectare of maize. In 2010, they planted 1 and ¾ hectare of maize, and last year planted a full 2 hectares. Their 2010-2011 crop yielded them large sacks of maize worth $1,700.

When asked to describe the impact of being on the loan program has had on the family, Mary pointed to her house and said, “Because of the loan program, we have been able to build this house and put iron sheets on the roof. My children now have blankets and clothes and school uniforms to wear.” Mary also indicated that because of their increase in standard of living, she and her husband have been able double the amount of weekly giving to their church. When asked if she would be able to care for all of her children once they were removed from the orphan support program, she said it would be tough. But she was confident that they would meet the school and household costs of raising all of their children. Mary and Dickson are a model case of the impact that Beracah seeks to have in the community with the families they serve.