A billion women, or 40% of the global female population, don’t have access to a bank account. Many of these women have simple dreams about a better life – to get books for their children or provide clean water and nutritious food for their families. Yet, they don’t have the means to earn income, receive capital or create businesses to invest in their modest goals.
FINCA is changing this. FINCA empowers women through increasing their access to microfinance services. Since 1985, over 4 million low-income women have improved their lives with the help of FINCA’s financial services.
Our formula to empower these women is simple: with your support, we give a small loan to a hardworking woman to start or expand her small business. She uses the profits from her business to fulfill one of her modest dreams. As her business succeeds and she pays the loan back to FINCA, those funds go back to work to making another woman’s dream come true.
The story of Noor Zia, a mother of six in Afghanistan, is like the story of so many of our clients throughout Latin America, Eurasia, Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. With a large family to support and no job, Noor decided to invest her limited savings to purchase cosmetics to start a beauty salon at home but struggled to make ends meet.
Here are 4 ways microfinance empowered Noor and millions of other women.
1. Creates Entrepreneurship
When women get access to financial services, many are able to invest in their talents by starting or expanding their own businesses. They are able to purchase equipment or buy supplies in bulk, helping to increase their profits every month.
Noor invested her first FINCA loan of $100 in her business by expanding the inventory of her home-based salon. After paying off her initial loan, Noor’s business and income steadily grew over the years. She received additional FINCA loans to open her first salon in the market.
2. Helps the Family
Many women use the profits to invest in their families’ needs. In fact, with access to FINCA’s financial services, 72% of our female clients are able to become primary breadwinners for their families, putting food on the table, enabling their children to attend school and providing a safe home for their families.
With the profits from her growing business, Noor purchased a sewing machine for her husband, who worked as a tailor. She also paid for the tuition fees of her children. Her eldest daughter recently graduated from school and her youngest daughter started her education, thanks to Noor’s income.
3. Generates Employment
With access to financial services, FINCA’s clients provide goods and services to their communities and build assets for their own families. They also generate jobs for others in their communities, many that pay living wages.
Eventually, Noor hired her first employee and helped to train an additional 70 beauticians.
Microfinance – and the financial independence it can create – empowers women. As their businesses grow, many women gain self-confidence and take pride in their small businesses. They become full of ideas and have the power to make choices for themselves and their families. They gain a voice among their peers and become advocates for other women in their communities.
Noor is a perfect example of an empowered woman. She has become a vital member within her family, providing income, stability and a bettered quality of life for her children. She also becomes an advocate for microfinance and helps others in her community by counseling small business owners on FINCA loans.