Students studying Business and Economics at Bexhill College have recently donated £427.20 to MicroLoan Foundation.
The students took part in the Start Something challenge where small groups of students were provided with £1 and challenged to use their enterprise skills over a four-week period to generate as much profit as possible. Over 30 students took part in the challenge which helped to develop their entrepreneurial thinking and teamwork, whilst at the same they generated funds which will be used to support women in sub-Saharan Africa to lift themselves and their families out of poverty.
MicroLoan's vision is a world where all those living in poverty have the opportunity to build better lives for themselves and their families. Their mission is to provide the poorest women in sub-Saharan Africa with the tools and skills to enable them to work their own way out of poverty.
Liam Papuha, took on the role of team leader. He used his £1 to purchase a multi-pack of chocolate bars and then placed MicroLoan Foundation stickers on each bar. Using his awareness of the ‘Fair Trade' logo being used to charge a premium price for other consumer goods, Liam used the MicroLoan sticker to begin a dialogue with his prospective customers. Rather than selling the chocolate bar, Liam sold the benefit of the purchase price being donated to MicroLoan Foundation.
Liam said, "I was glad we could help other people while still managing to practise our skills in a fun way. I hope we have helped to change some lives for the better.”
Liam is pictured in the photograph along with his classmates Rory Batchelor, Archie Lindsay, Rachel Morgan and Seth Ringrose.
The donations provided by our students help to fund female entrepreneurs like Mavis Soko. Mavis has four children, who live with her and her husband in a one-bedroom house. A year and a half ago, the Soko family was living in extreme poverty. Not able to afford enough food, they would often go to bed hungry. For Mavis' children, their situation meant that they regularly missed school as a result of not being able to pay the fees. This is a pattern across Zambia for families living in poverty.
With her first loan, Mavis opened her restaurant and with subsequent loans has invested in it so it can keep growing. Her weekly profits have increased dramatically, which has meant that Mavis is able to put food on the table for her family and can pay the school fees for her two children who are still at school. While Mavis' husband does earn an income, providing for a family of 6 was difficult. The restaurant has reduced the pressure on him as the sole provider, and helped the family to reach a higher level of financial security.
Andy Pritchard, Head of Politics, Economics, Business & Law congratulated the students and said, "It is satisfying to see our students take what they have learnt in their Business and Economics lessons and apply it to the real world. Our students have learned that economic growth and the prosperity that it brings can be driven by the entrepreneurship of hard working and proactive individuals. The injustice of poverty is often linked to a lack of access to credit as opposed to a lack of creativity or work ethic. It is therefore, extremely heartening to see our students become global ethical investors and genuine change agents.”
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