7 years after a small grant from SIA
Seven years after a Spirit in Action Small Business Fund grant, Paulos and Skekiwe Lungu are thankful for the Luso Shoe Repair business and for their new home.
Paulos discusses his business with us during our visit to Malawi in 2011.
Paulos and Skekiwe have a story to share with you today. Before learning about Spirit in Action the couple and their two sons were living in very poor conditions. Without a home, the family had to stay at other people’s homes, moving from house to house, and they often only had enough food for meal each day. The parents could not begin to think of sending their sons to school because, although the elementary education is free, uniforms and other school supplies were too expensive for their budget.
When Canaan Gondwe, Spirit in Action Small Business Fund Coordinator in Malawi, first visited the family in 2006, he sat a long time listening to Paulos and Skekiwe and discussing an opportunity for the family to change their situation with a little help from SIA and a lot of work on their part.
In considering the family for a $150 grant, Canaan recalls, “The family had a land for cultivation and the husband had a skill of repairing worn out shoes. I began to explain about God and his purpose for giving us life. I talked at length about the potential held by all created beings. I listened to Paulos and helped him to remove all misdirected attitudes and begin to reorganize himself. I invited Paulos and Skekiwe to the Small Business Fund training that was coming forth.”
Things Start to Change
Paulos shoes at the market.
During the first training, Canaan discussed with the ten gathered families about forming business groups, communication, listening prayer and consensus agreements, and attitude change. “The training had impacted Paulos with knowledge on how to get established. His attitude changed and began to see himself as someone that had the power to change his situation,” remembers Canaan.
Business was good! Paulos devoted a lot of time to repairing shoes in the market, and selling rubber souls to people whose shoes needed reinforcing.
In 2008 Paulos bought a female pig, which soon gave birth to four piglets. The piglets act as an investment – one that keep growing with each new litter. For now, the piglets help pay for the books and uniforms needed to keep the two boys in school!
Also, the Lungus have been able to build their very own home. In 2011, they bought the 8,000 bricks (fired, for longevity) necessary to build a permanent place to live. The home was finally finished last year, topped with a thatched roof.
The Lungu Family in front of their new home!
Life continues to be a challenge though and recently both Paulos and Skekiwe fell sick and they were diagnosed with HIV.
Paulos and Skekiwe in front of their bumper maize crop.
The silver lining? Canaan reports, “The good news is that they can afford to go to private clinics and get treatment, and as I write they are both on antiretroviral therapy treatment.”
I admit that this last part of the family story really let the wind out of my sails. But Canaan finished his letter with an enthusiastic “WHAT A TURN AROUND OF THINGS ON A FAMILY!” referring to the home, the boys’ education, and the thriving maize field.
Following their lead, today I am celebrating with the Lungu family as they live with their newfound success, achieved with a small $150 grant and seven years of dedication.