Hilda is a single mother, married when she was 18, and has three children, two girls and a boy. The eldest is Sheila aged 17, Abigail aged 15 and Bright aged 9.
Having dropped out of school in the seventh grade, she thought that continuing with her studies was a waste of time as her parents could not afford her school fees even if she could reach higher levels of education.
She started her grocery business in 2010 after giving up farming tobacco. As a single mother, she has been working very hard to support her family. In 2010, she thought of starting a grocery business - which was viable that time. She has been facing challenges like the hiking of prices of commodities, and the pandemic which affected her business. Though there were challenges, she had ways of overcoming the problems - having a supporting business of selling plastic products like shoes and cups which could bring some funds to keep the grocery business going, and also taking loans from VisionFund to boost her businesses when she cannot afford to buy stock. She sells fashionable shoes for both men and women and the youth love Hilda’s products - especially her shoes that add color to their life and make them look fashionable.
The growth of her businesses has been helpful since she has built three houses for rent which helps her community members have a decent living space. She also bought a motorbike that is used in the community for transportation of individuals at a cost and she is paying school fees for her daughter who is at boarding school in town.
Hilda is not only a businesswoman who always puts her mind on money, but she is also considered a saviour in her community. “We have been always looking for a shop where we could buy cheap and quality goods, this is the place” said Julia Tembo one of the happy customers. She is the only good seller of cheap and pure cooking oil in the community. The shop also helps reduce the distance community members taken by community members to access goods they need. Her motorbike has been helpful to community members as it affords transport within the community at a fair price.
Hilda has a vision for her business, she desires to grow her business from retailing to wholesale and also offer good customer services so that she can have more customers.
Story by Reuben Ngomwa, VisionFund Malawi