Saving for a brighter future in Maputo, MozambiqueBenvinda Milagre Gribunda
Benvinda’s little shop stands out, blue and shiny, among a sea of red-painted walls. She sells wholesales bath and body products to other vendors in the area, and last year, she started working as a representative for MPesa, the local mobile money provider. Her neighbors can come to her to make deposits and payments via their cell phones.
Years ago, Benvinda worked for a large company, but when she was able to purchase land for her own home five years ago, her commute became impossibly long and expensive. She wanted her family to have a house, so she decided to leave her job and start her own business near her home. She researched various types of retail jobs, settling on her current products because of the demand she noticed in her community. She opened up a tiny stall and began selling.
Then, three years ago, Benvinda learned about Opportunity International and received a loan to purchase additional inventory for her shop. She used to struggle to keep her shelves full, but with the investment from Opportunity, she was able to fill the store. Before long, her business was growing, and soon thereafter, MPesa noticed her success and approached her about serving as a super agent. With this additional revenue stream, Benvinda has been able to make critical improvements on both her shop and her home, and she is better able to support her family.
Now, Benvinda is saving in an Opportunity savings account for a big event: her wedding! She and her fiancé each had a child from previous relationships, both of whom are now 15 years old, and they also have a 9-year-old. After a decade together, they are now planning a wedding for next summer, so Benvinda is working harder than ever to save up for an amazing celebration.
She dreams that all three of her children will stay in school, study well and get good jobs. And like any parent, she hopes that they will be healthy and have good relationships with their family and friends. For her business, Benvinda’s big dream is to open additional points of sale around the market and the community. A big challenge to achieving her goal is transportation – moving all of the supplies to stock the store from the city to the market on the public bus. After Benvinda celebrates her wedding, she plans to start saving for a vehicle that will make this trip far easier.
Benvinda describes her community as aggressive, but despite the difficulty of doing business there, she is thriving. She has learned form Opportunity to better manage her business and to save. She is grateful for the support she has received from Opportunity and excited to continue to achieve her goals.