SANDRA and her family are among the many that were helped by the money raised from the appeal last year.
Full Name: Sandra Clara Tomas
City, Country: Tete, Mozambique
Children: four aged five to 21
Sandra Clara lives in Tete, the north-western province of Mozambique, with her four children aged five to 21. She used to run a small business at home making sweet rocks of ice and selling them for children but she struggled to make a profit. She knew she needed to expand or change her business but didn’t know how.
Sandra first heard about Opportunity International on a visit to the “mercado novo” (new market) where loan officers were explaining the financial products and services that they offered.
Knowing that selling second hand clothes can be very profitable, Sandra applied for an Opportunity loan and with it started a new business selling second hand clothes and bags at the market.
Sandra used the loan to buy stock for her business. Her stall was a great success as it was full with customers trying on clothes and she often made 100 per cent profit on her purchases. She would then put this money back into buying even more stock for the business.
She now buys stock three or four times a week and often sells all of it, particularly at the end of the month when customers have more money.
The business is now booming and Sandra has had to employ two people to help her sort and display her clothes.
A little loan can go a long way and many others in her family and community are benefiting as a result. Her quality of life has also improved: “I installed running water, bought a fridge, and bought some land to build a house.”
Looking forward, Sandra hopes to open another market stall and one day be able to buy a car to help her purchase her goods.
Opportunity International began working in Mozambique in 2004. The majority of its clients are farmers or run small businesses in markets.
Before Opportunity, they were ignored by commercial banks because they were just too poor.
The majority of these working people live in rural areas far from the city. Through satellite branches and mobile banks, banking is brought closer to those who need it. The results are worth celebrating: Businesses are profitable, families are better fed, children better educated and the sick are better cared for. Lives, like Sandra’s, are transformed.
Every pound donated by City A.M. readers will be matched by the UK Government. So far the City A.M. appeal has raised £520,208.