A loan of $1,050 helped to increase stock in her shop.

Leopoldina Da Carmeni's story

Leopoldina is 34 years old, was born in Inhambane, and grew up in Matola. She is a widow and mother of four children, between 6 months and 15 years old. Only the oldest attends school because the second-oldest is mute, and there are no schools for children with special needs in Namaacha. Leopoldina and her family moved to Namaacha, a village on the border of Swaziland, in 1996 when her husband worked there as a border guard.

Leopoldina studied through only 8th grade, and the sole way for her to earn a living was to enter the workforce. Having worked as a barber in her youth, in 1998 she opened a hair salon in her home and was successful. In 2006, however, her husband became sick, and she had to spend all their money to treat him. He did not withstand the illness and lost his life in 2007. After this tragedy, Leopoldina had no money to continue her business. With three children to raise and six months pregnant, she counted on just her father’s help. Three months later she received an indemnity/benefit payment for her husband’s service. For her children, she opted to leave the funds in the account for the length of the term because in addition to the original amount, she began to receive a monthly pension of 2,000 meticais (MTn). With the help of Hluvuku (Kiva’s Field Partner), Leopoldina transformed the old salon into a shop where she sells basic necessities. She has had positive results and is able to raise her children and to save 2,000 MTn.

This is her second loan with Hluvuku and her first with Kiva. She used the first loan of 15,000 MTn to buy products for her shop, and will use this second loan of 25,000 MTn to do the same. In the future she intends to ask for more loans to invest in a chicken-selling business. In the photo Leopoldina appears with her son.

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Translated from Portuguese by Kiva volunteer April Newman

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