This year we began supporting MicroLoan Foundation, a poverty alleviation charity which works across sub-Saharan Africa. Below we are pleased to share with you the story of Oiness, a female entrepreneur in Zambia.

Oiness’ road to success has not been an easy one.

She is a single mother and because of this many people in her community saw her as a burden. They didn’t believe she could run a business let alone a successful one.

Living in a remote rural village in Zambia far from employment opportunities and transport meant Oiness struggled to provide for her three children. These struggles intensified when she divorced and found herself as the sole provider for her family. Despite the community’s lack of faith in her, Oiness decided to start a business. She was determined to provide her children with a brighter, more sustainable future.

Oiness had no starting capital to buy materials to make the small portable cooking stoves she wanted to sell. Instead she had to search for scrap iron sheets. This restricted the number of stoves Oiness was able to make and began to take a physical strain on her body.

Things began to change when she joined a MicroLoan group.

A year has passed since Oiness started receiving business training, loans and support from MicroLoan. She used her initial loan to purchase the materials she needed. She now sells a range of cooking utensils. Her profits began to increase as demand for her products grew. The training taught her about the importance of saving regularly, something which allowed her to re-invest in her business. But, perhaps, most importantly for Oiness, her increased profits and savings allowed her to send all her children to school.

People in her community now look at Oiness as an inspiration. Despite the difficulty of raising three children on her own, she has been able to create the successful business others didn’t believe was possible. She now hopes to continue growing her business and open a restaurant.

Each month Whitfield Construction Services donates to MicroLoan, helping entrepreneurs just like Oiness take their first steps out of poverty and build a better future for themselves and their family. Be sure to check back here for more updates on our partnership with MicroLoan!