My dreams, a reality with FINCA

54-year-old Gladys Tembo of Bauleni Township in Lusaka city describes herself as a strong woman in business who easily embraces change. Gladys is married with 5 children-a son and four daughters. With the dream of improving her family’s standard of living, Gladys has been running her business as far back as she can remember.

Prior to joining FINCA Zambia in 2001 she worked with several other microfinance institutions in Zambia in order to accomplish her dream. Gladys narrates that back then, her family only owned a small television set, a ripped sofa and could not afford to drink cold water due to lack of a refrigerator. Before long, these MFIs either collapsed or closed down and Gladys’s association with them did not yield any significant improvement in her business or her family’s welfare.

The inception of FINCA in Zambia in 2001 brought hope to Gladys. She learned about FINCA and its operations from TV and radio adverts. Gladys was one of the two initial members of “Trust” village bank. She recalls her first loan amount of K500 (US$50) which she invested in her business. Since then, Gladys has received over 20 FINCA loans which she invested all in business. Initially, Gladys only ran a grocery stall at home. Today she has a second and more profitable business-She buys blankets and other household items from Livingstone and sells them in Lusaka.

“With FINCA I have achieved more than my dream. I have managed to uplift my family’s standard of living and I have also built a three roomed house for my mother in the village. These two things are my greatest achievements in life”, said Gladys. With her business profits, Gladys has been able to purchase households items such as a bigger TV set, two refrigerators, brand new sofas and display cabinets to provide comfort for her family. Gladys has also been able to help her husband build six houses which have since been rented out.

Gladys describes FINCA as a good organisation that is helping people especially women to become independent and self-confident. “I really appreciate FINCA and its work. FINCA staffs are respectful and well disciplined”, she said. Gladys currently has a loan of K11, 000 (US$1100) and she plans to build a shop where she will be selling groceries among other things. She also plans to purchase her own plot-independent from her husband where she can build her own house.