Portrait of a woman – Ana Senyolo, South Africa

On this International Women’s Day, we are presenting together with our partner ADA, the portrait of Ana Senyolo, a client of the South African microfinance institution SEF – Small Enterprise Foundation. SEF is supported by LMDF and ADA and has been supporting the development of vulnerable women in rural areas for 26 years.

Jérémie Chapet, project manager at ADA, visited SEF a few weeks ago and took the opportunity to meet Ana, 52 years old. Ana lives in a village near the town of Polokwane in a big house with her grandson. It moved there in 1988 to take advantage of the economic dynamism of the area and launch its fast food business.

Ana started out with a sewing activity that she quickly abandoned because there was not enough income to pay for the family expenses she assumed alone, her husband having deceased more than 25 years ago. She decided to start selling chicken-based takeaways. Ana is in charge of preparing the dishes at her home with the help of two employees, her grandson and another employee are responsible for sales in a small room at the side of the road. A hundred plates per day are sold.

Ana has been a SEF client for 15 years. The funds she obtained from the microfinance institution enabled her to buy the raw materials needed for her activity in larger quantities at a cheaper wholesale price. At first Ana borrowed small amounts (between € 100 and € 1,000) in a solidarity group with four other women. Beyond the financial service offered by SEF, Ana testifies to having joined the solidarity group to find social bonds and to receive advice from other women entrepreneurs like her.

Now she only borrows higher amounts (between € 3,000 and € 6,000) that she uses to acquire or renew equipment such as freezers or a car to get supplies faster.

The restaurant brings Ana approximately € 800 each month. These revenues enabled him to renew the entire roof of his house and save in anticipation of the opening of a new roadside store in a nearby village in 2018.