E. became a member of GHAPE in 2006 and has successfully repaid two loans. He invested his loans to sell maize and bought a maize mill which produces flour.
E. started farming crops in 1975, and recently starteed buying and renting a few houses around his neighborhood. In the two years since joining GHAPE, he has dramatically increased his fortunes. His first loan helped him to buy his first corn mill (which costs about 350,000 CFA or $875), and the second loan from Kiva, together with his profits from previous business, helped him to buy his second corn mill. Corn mills are in demand in every community around Bamenda, as corn is sold in kernels and every person must take their corn to be milled before they can prepare “corn fufu” – a local favorite.
I asked E. how he is able to farm and operate mills in two locations, and like a modern-day businessman, he operates from a distance. He pays the rent for two shops in two busy markets and hires two young men to operate the mills. With the two mills now operating, he says he is able to earn as much as 100,000 CFA ($250) per month.
His profits from the mills have allowed him to expand his business activities into livestock. Since starting the second mill, he has been able to purchase three piglets and two cattle. His dream for the future is to start a full cattle farm. He says that he already has enough land for a herd of fifty cattle, and he has recently obtained two required grazing permits. A future loan will enable him to begin to build his herd.
E.’s income allows him and his wife, a civil servant working with the government, to give their four children an enviable education. His eldest is studying in a university in France, made possible in part by a scholarship. Two others are in university in Cameroon. And the youngest is in secondary school. Between the four, E. and his wife pay over 500,000 CFA ($1,250) in annual school fees and expenses.
E. says that without his new business ventures, he and his wife would really be struggling with the expense of providing their children with such an income. Thus, he is very grateful to those who have financed his loan: “It is a pleasure to learn that so many around the world are contributing to my family’s wellbeing,” he says, “and we send them our thanks.”
He plans to repay this loan in 18 months and the first installment repayment begins four months after disbursement.
About Grounded and Holistic Approach to People's Empowerment (GHAPE)
This loan is administered by Grounded and Holistic Approach to People's Empowerment (GHAPE), a non-profit non-government organization based in Bamenda, Cameroon. GHAPE takes a multi-faceted approach in working towards the empowerment of the poor and poverty alleviation. Every client is trained in business management, basic health, life skills, financial management, profits and losses, and family values. Clients are also required to contribute a small amount into a personal savings account; most clients save much more than the minimum requirement. GHAPE instills a sense of family and community among its clients and staff and has developed a strong bond of trust between the organization and its clients.
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