|Hilda Lukhere: An Example of Will Power|
|Monday, 04 June 2012 13:51|
Hilda Lukhere’s relationship with SACCOs started in a very unlikely manner. She vividly recalls her decision to accompany her husband to a Phindu Community SACCO’s annual general meeting in 2004; with no anticipation of how that would ignite her association with the financial cooperatives movement in the country.
“I had nothing to do at home and just decided to escort him to the meeting in order to pass time”, she says.
At the meeting, she listened to a string of testimonies from proud members who capitalised on the SACCO to find pathways out of their financial despair. At first she demeaned the testimonies until a flourishing business lady she looked up to in her neighbourhood, stepped on the podium to share her experience.
“She was one of the few emerging successful business ladies at Phwezi Trading Centre. Her story of how a 13 thousand kwacha loan from the SACCO laid a foundation for an inter border business she was pursuing really encouraged me. It made me feel a complete loser who was failing to capitalise on opportunities in my community”.
Hilda left the meeting inspired, motivated and charged of hopes to give herself and her family a better future through the SACCO.
“I opened my account with the SACCO that very day and vowed to make myself a boss within a year”.
The road to the fulfilment of such an ambitious dream was not easy though, she struggled for 10 months to accumulate enough shares and better her chances of obtaining a substantial loan from the SACCO. Her plan was to begin with a grocery shop and then diversify into something more challenging and rewarding.
After satisfying all the requirements, the SACCO provided her with a 60 thousand kwacha loan which enabled her to open a small hawker shop at Bwengu Trading Centre. The hawker shop has since grown into a full grocery shop stocking food items, toiletries and other basic commodities.
“I started very small but with consecutive loans from the SACCO, I have managed to grow the business this far”.
Today, apart from the grocery shop, she also runs a fast food take away business at the busy trading centre. Additionally, together with her husband, she also runs a welding and tire fitting shop.
Today, not many women can equal Hilda’s ingenuity as regard small business management and business ideas generation in her community. Every business she has put her money in to, has been profitable and rewarding enabling her improve the livelihood of her family.
“As my grocery business was slowly becoming popular, I realised I could capitalise on that popularity to launch another business. The fast food take away business came first into my mind. I had some savings but not enough to put the business in motion so I approached the SACCO for a loan which I was granted two days later.
Using the money, her husband travelled to Tanzania where he bought equipment for the fast food business. On his return, “Hilda’s Take Away” was born.
However, that was not enough for Hilda; she had bigger ideas and wanted to invest in a welding business, but she didn’t have the necessary capital to make such an investment.
“While in Tanzania, my husband observed that welding equipment was very cheap. Knowing that my husband is a welder, I thought this would be an advantage”.
She discussed the idea with her husband and he gave a nod but with a minor adjustment.
“My husband suggested that we also include a tire compressor on the buying list. He noted that there was no any compressor at Bwengu and many motorists were facing challenges”.
A year later, the family opened their welding and tire fitting shop owing to a loan they got from Phindu Community SACCO.
Now, Mr and Mrs. Lukhere can see the future with more confidence and hope. They can now provide for their family and can even set aside a small amount of savings every month. With their earnings, Hilda and her husband have bought household items and are also able to finance the schooling for their son and daughter who will both start secondary education next year.
“To invest money in our children´s education is the best and most profitable investment for us,” the family proudly announces.
To Hilda, however, no better words could summarize her contentment with the SACCO.
“I hope that the SACCO will be able to help many more women like me, “she says gratefully
Policy Makers Symposium on Growth and Development of Savings and Credit Cooperatives in Malawi
Date: May 27 – 28, 2013
Venue: Bingu International Conference Centre
Symposium Theme: Embracing Financial Cooperatives as a...
Safe and sound SACCOs for everyone in Malawi.
To support SACCOs in Malawi on a sustainable basis to promote good access to quality and affordable financial services to members in accordance with international cooperative principles.