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Stories Of Change

The story of Atalia Mbewe

This is a story of ATALIA MBEWE aged 50 years old. After her separation from her husband, Atalia had to fend for her three children alone. Life became so difficult for her and she started doing piece works for their survival.  When the CLAP project was introduced, Atalia was selected by the Community Child Labour Committee (CCLC)  to be part of the adult literacy learners in Kasenga community. She was very excited because she only went up to primary grade 4 as such she was unable to read or write not at the time of the enrolment. However, after a few months of learning under CLAP, she is now able to read in local language, write letters and numbers properly. Atalia further says she can now solve mathematical problems be it addition, subtraction, division or multiplication. This has helped her in doing business and she can give proper change unlike before when she could not calculate change for customers or calculate profits and losses.

When she received the K250 CLAP soft loan in June 2019, Atalia started a business of selling tomatoes and cooking oil. She narrates that she arrived at this business after analysing  the market on what would bring in profits quickly. According to Atalia, she started by buying tomatoes at K180 (6 boxes@K30) which gave her a K60 profit which gave her K240 and she added the K70 which she kept from the k250  bringing  her total to K310 . She then decided to buy 20 litres cooking oil @ K265 and tomatoes @K90. When buying the tomatoes, she topped up her own K45 in order to maximise her profits which gave her K75 profit while the cooking oil gave her a profit of K65. She has continued buying and selling of the same products and in 3 months she managed to raise K750 and thus saved K300  in the CLAP project village Bank. Additionally, from her profits, Atalia was able to buy some building materials for the house she is currently occupying. “My life has changed and I can now boast of earning my own money, before people used to call me names because of begging” says Atalia. She is grateful to SPRIZ and JTI for the CLAP project which has also helped others in the community. She adds that she is now able to support her 15 years old daughter with school requisites and her advice to other women is have discipline when doing business and not to always look for big capital before starting a business.

The story of Bridget Mbewe

BRIDGET MBEWE aged 28 years is married with three children aged 9 (girl), 5 (boy) and 2 years old (girl). She is one of the CLAP beneficiaries who was selected for literacy classes in Mafuta community. Bridget is a grade 9 drop out as such at the time she joined the adult literacy classes she was able to read and write in local language and a bit of English. According to her, she was a bit reluctant at the beginning to join as she thought  CLAP was just about learning how to read and write. To her surprise, the CLAP adult classes were more than just learning how to read and write but also learnt how to manage a business and calculate business profits. When she got her soft loan, Bridget ventured in selling Chitenge materials and explained that her decision was based on the demand of chitenges by all women and the fact that traditionally every woman should wear a chitenge in her community.
“ I decided to be selling Chitenges because in our community every woman needs to have several chitenges and when  we go out for community meetings or functions, we look for best chitenges to wear. Similarly, in our homes when doing work every woman is expected to wear a Chitenge. I saw that Chitenges are a necessity to every woman in our community. A husband feels good when his wife is wearing a nice chitenge and walks with her to meetings or functions. When you don’t wear a nice chitenge, your husband cant walk with you to meetings or functions, you go separate ways. Thus, I saw that Chitenges would be a good business especially that they are non- perishable.”
With a K250 which Bridget got from SPRIZ in July 2019, she decided to buy and resell chitenge materials. For her first stock, she bought 7 pieces at K35 each and sold them at K50 each which gave her a profit of K105. For her second stock, she bought 8 pieces and made a profit of K120 of out it. For her third stock, she bought 12 pieces and made a profit of K180. Bridget has continued her business and in 2 months she managed to save K180 in the village bank and at the time of monitoring, she had K230 cash at hand and K700 in stock (Chitenge materials). Bridget is so grateful to SPRIZ and JTI adding that he says currently she is able to supports her children with school requirements from her business profits. She adds that the fights over money with her husband are a thing of the past now.