We’re celebrating fathers day by sharing a micro-finance success story. Through our charity partners Deki, we have funded loans totalling over £70,000 to enable people living in extreme poverty to build sustainable livelihoods which benefit themselves, their families and their communities.
Back in 2012, 38-year-old Bronex Nyirenda was struggling to provide for his family. Every morning he would head out to go fishing for a few hours as soon as the sun rose, then after returning home for a brief rest, he would get started on farming activities for the remainder of the day.
However, even whilst working so hard, Bronex’s income was always unreliable. His work was heavily dependent on circumstances which were out of his control, such as the weather and condition of the land – which in his village, was incredibly poor. When Bronex had a poor crop due to the frequent droughts and subsequent flooding in Malawi, the family had no income and everyone including his six children went hungry.
Secondary school is thought of as a luxury in Malawi and Bronex dreamed of being able to educate his children. However, the cost of fees, school uniform and transportation put this completely out of reach.
The family lives in Usisya, a very remote village on the lakeshore in Malawi, which is only accessible by boat. People who live there often have no running water or electricity and there is a very high proportion of people who live with HIV/AIDS.
Less than 12% of households in Malawi have access to credit from a bank, and due to Bronex’s lack of financial security, he could not access any financial services. It felt impossible for Bronex to lift his family out of poverty.
When Bronex received his first Deki loan in 2013, things started to change. After receiving some business training, he decided to invest his loan of £180 into a new business, raising pigs. With the loan he bought eight pigs, pig feed and materials to construct a house for them. Quickly Bronex’s ability to earn extra income increased and he gradually re-paid his loan. However, this was just the start of his business growth and success.
In 2015, Bronex applied for a second loan and began to diversify his business. Half of the loan he invested in setting up a small grocery stall, where he sold products such as tomatoes, vegetables, beans, eggs and salt. The rest he re-invested back into his pig business, which was growing due to the birth of more piglets.
Bronex has now generated enough income for his family to enable them to install electricity in their home and replace their mud floor with one made of cement. They even have a TV and DVD player! These improvements have made Bronex proud of the home he is able to raise his children in.
To protect himself and his family from future hardship, Bronex saves each month in a village saving scheme. Any other profit left at the end of the month is always reinvested back into his businesses so as he can continue to grow them steadily.
Most importantly, all of Bronex’s six children are now in education and he is even able to support his nephew through school. Bronex is a real success story – his hard work and incredible entrepreneurial flair have enabled him to set up two successful businesses in under three years.
Plans for the future? Bronex doesn’t want to stop there! He is looking to help his wife open a hairdressing salon, so she is also able to run her own business. He also plans to build a second house in Mzuzu, the nearest town, which he will rent out, providing a home for another family and a further source of income and security for his family.