“This loan is golden. It has allowed us to grow our income. Each of our members has been able to buy an animal”
Duhumure received their first loan on December 27th 2011, shared between 4 members, as part of the Comic Relief funded HIV+ Survivors Integration Project.
The total loan capital was FRW 900,000 (about £1,000). In spite of the fact one of the members was sick during part of the loan cycle, they worked hard to ensure that the loan will be repaid on time.
They are using the capital to buy bulk products (sugar and drinking powder mostly) that can be re-sold with high profit margins. Unfortunately, much of their profits depend on the economic stability of the season. Nonetheless, the members are committed to paying off their debt.
“Thanks to this loan, we can save money to improve our lives in the future”
The group members are happy with the state of the loan currently but are unsure if they want to take out a second loan, as they highly value their independence. Interest rates for micro-credit loans are higher than bank loans, in general. This is also a strong factor in determining whether or not the group will continue to take credit. If they do, they plan to increase the size of their next loan.
“We may be old but we want to work and be self-reliant. We want this loan to be our last one.”
While the group has seen a rise in revenues, they also noted that their capacity to run a business has improved. If anything, the members want more business training. The strong requirements of working in a group and keeping meticulous records have provided irreplaceable hands-on training for the members.
Skills such as book-keeping and business collaboration have already provided considerable benefits to the members and will be transferred to their future projects. Most importantly, however, has been the sense of teamwork that grew from collaborating on this project:
“Sharing the loan between the group has taught us teamwork. When one member wants to develop a project, but does not have the means to do so, we work together to help her. The personal relationships are really valuable. We were even able to buy mobile phones, which means that now we talk to each other more frequently and not just about business. We have become much closer friends.”