Idah Yohane with her goats in a field

Extreme Poverty to Happy Family

Idah Yohane Kamwendo is a married woman who hails from Chipanga village T/A Mduwa, Mikundi Mchinji. She is the treasurer of Chamwabvi group which has nine members. She has four daughters and one son.

Idah’s story is one that demonstrates the ability of a family to come out of extreme poverty to a level of self-sufficiency through the power of microfinance. Before taking a loan, Idah’s family struggled to afford enough food, which affected the health of her family.

In 2016, Idah got a loan of MK40, 000 from VisionFund Malawi (VFM) which she used to fund her small business of selling zitumbuwa (banana fritters), and also started buying and selling groundnuts. She increased her loan to MK80,000 in the third cycle where she ventured into the business of buying and selling secondhand clothes. She is now in her fifth cycle where she took a loan of MK100, 000 and her business has grown to realise even more profits.

“Before I got a loan from VFM, I was in a situation that is not easy to describe, an extreme case of poverty. Now my family is happy. We have food, clothes and I send my children to school and one of them is in secondary school. I have stopped doing farming labour and now concentrate on working in my own fields to harvest more food, and last year I had more than 28 bags of maize,” says Idah.

In 2019’s growing season, Idah has grown five acres of maize, one acre of soya and three acres of groundnuts where she expects bumper yields due to the good rains. With the profits realised from her business, she can buy necessary farm inputs. Idah also now owns a cow which will start calving soon, a pig, four goats, 20 chickens and a solar panel. She is currently working hard to do solar electricity wiring for her house so that she can have lighting in her home.