Gertrude faces obstacles head on in Malawi

Gertrude, a 54-year-old entrepreneur in Malawi, doesn’t lack ambition. In fact, in addition to selling small fish and rice, she also owns a small grocery store and works as a tailor, all of which help supply her community with the goods they need.

But, in order to stock her businesses, she often relied on pricey public transportation to travel up to 19 km to the market, which not only ate into her profit margins but also limited her ability to scale her business. 

Then, Gertrude received a Buffalo Bicycle as part of World Bicycle Relief’s Mobilized Communities programming and experienced a turning point. 

On two wheels, Gertrude eliminated transportation costs, allowing her to redirect her savings into business investments. And her newfound mobility meant she could travel more efficiently to purchase supplies, saving both time and money. 

With the savings, Gertrude installed a small irrigation system on her farm, leading to a better yield of maize and vegetables, ensuring her family has access to fresh produce year-round. She also invested more in her village’s savings and loan group, which lends money mostly to women in need in the community. Gertrude and other members of the group then benefit from the collected interest. 

 

Community Impact and Personal Growth

The bicycle has not only enhanced her business operations but also increased her participation in community activities and her ability to support her family.

Her family has also experienced the benefits of the Buffalo, with trips to the maize mill, farm, hospital, church, and village savings meetings. The time and money saved allows Gertrude to focus on her businesses and household chores, ensuring her son and daughter’s secondary school fees are paid on time.

Even the unexpected seems more manageable. Last year, when a deadly cyclone hit Malawi, Gertrude quickly transported her produce before it could be destroyed by the heavy rains.

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A bright future ahead

Reflecting on her journey, Gertrude is grateful for her Buffalo Bicycle. “I feel happy because of how comfortable I feel riding the bicycle and because of how less demanding it is to use the Buffalo Bicycle,” she says. “My life and that of my family has improved so much.”

Whether it’s the everyday trips to the market, building businesses or navigating unforeseen challenges, two wheels empower women like Gertrude to face battles head on and go after their dreams.

 

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