Helping women is a very big part of who we are as a company and our partnership with Kleos Microfinance Group allows us to do the work that matters most. We support women by donating proceeds to female entrepreneurs in developing countries so they can start their own businesses. These women typically lack collateral, steady employment and a verifiable credit history. That is why these loans mean so much to them and can make such a big impact on their lives, a change they would have a hard time making otherwise. There is nothing we love more than seeing the impact of giving back to women in need.
Meet Arach Grace. Grace is one of the first Kleos Uganda borrowers in their third cycle of loans. The Kleos model encourages borrowers to continue accessing services to keep growing their businesses until they can reach financial independence. Grace is on her way there! Read on to hear her experience, straight from her.
“Hi, my name is Arach Grace, I’m a 33 year old single mother of a three year old girl. My daughter and I live in a two room house, we use the bedroom for residence and the other room for my business because I cannot afford to pay rent for both my home and a business premise.
I am a tailor and I operate my business from home because my house is located along side the main road in the eastern side of Gulu. I applied for a loan with Kleos because I wanted to expand my business. I used to have only my tailoring machine and I would sit all day waiting for customers to bring clothes for me to sew which were mostly old clothes that need repairs. It was hard for me to make any decent amount of money because I did not have my own materials to sell.
I heard about Kleos Uganda from my neighbors and together we formed a group called Lubanga Lakica which means ‘God is merciful.’ The loan I received from Kleos helped me to buy stock of materials (fabrics) so that my customers can buy directly from my shop and I can sew for them. I also made a stall in front of my door/shop and I began selling fruits like bananas and avocados and produce (beans, sesame, peas, etc) which I buy from the villages and sell here in town.
Being involved with Kleos Uganda has really changed my life and boosted my business. I used to struggle with buying food for me and my daughter but now things are different because I can afford to pay my rent, feed our family, pay school fees for my daughter and provide family needs with ease.
I’m now in the third loan cycle with Kleos Uganda. I got 700,000/= ($270 CAD) which I used to buy produce from the village and I stocked them in the house waiting for the price to increase so that I sell them for more profit.”
Kleos is unique because of the partnership it creates with each individual borrower and community. The Kleos office works to develop individuals to maximize their own progress and become leaders in their own communities. Grace has been able to benefit from more than just Kleos loans, and offers her thoughts in terms of future programming she would like to see.
“Because of the business skills training that I received from Kleos Uganda, I learned that I could not rely on only one business which made me diversify, and that’s why now I have started the fruits and produce business alongside my tailoring work. This is helping me a lot because if one business is not doing well in a particular period, I’m able to make money from another.
Kleos Uganda’s policy of charging very low interest rates which is deducted at source with very favorable repayment period makes it easier to pay back the loan because I only have to focus on paying back the principle borrowed.”