Meet Afi Dope Mimlikou, 58, from Atsave in rural Togo.

Discover how Afi went from selling nuts and groceries to buying land.

Afi Dope Mimlikou is 57, lives in Lomé, the capital of Togo with her husband and five children, aged between 16-30. Afi’s husband was unemployed so the family’s finances and future of their children was down to her. Afi ran a small stall selling food and charcoal at the market in town. Afi wanted to buy more stock in bigger amounts to invest in her business but without any formal schooling she was unable to get a loan from a bank. Through her community savings group Ave Marie, Afi was able to apply for a loan of £160 and she invested it in buying rice, tomatoes and oil in larger quantities. Her stall was popular and she soon repaid her loan.

Since receiving the initial loan Afi says her business income and her families quality of life has improved. Her two youngest children are in education, now that Afi can afford the school uniform and books needed.

She also makes about 30,000 XOF (£39) profit every month, enabling her to save with her community group as well as add to their family’s savings. Since receiving support Afi has gone on to access a second loan of £330 through her community savings group and has increased her business further. Afi has now been able to buy a plot of land and build a home for her family.

Afi says the training she received has allowed her and other members in her group to develop an innovative business, trading in a wide variety of goods, whilst also learning to manage their loans and keep thorough records.

She has attended many healthcare workshops, the most recent focused on breast cancer prevention. This was very popular with all the women in the group. With the support Afi and her community savings group have been given she now has a profitable business, giving her and the whole community the opportunity needed to make life without poverty a reality.  Afi says her next goal is ‘to buy a car for the family’.