You may wonder what the front picture has to do with microfinance?
Obviously loans are not made for children and defintily children should not be used for any labor at all. That is exactly what microfinance can achieve.
During the visits I made, the people I talked to, whether it has been Zidisha borrowers, Volunteer Mentors, friends or other international volunteers, the topic of schooling, education and child labor was often discussed.
Often parents don’t have the money to pay for their childrens school expenses and even if they wish to send their children to school they can’t. Despite a free primary education policy launched by the governement, many parents lack the means to pay for other expenses, such as books, uniform or transport. Some children in Kenya may therefore not even get the chance to obtain a primary education, not to mention a secondary school degree.
Profitable loans may give the chance to parents, or other family members, to enhance their business, earn higher incomes and allows them to send their children to school.
“You always first look at your children. […] and it is not that we are not aware of the importance of education, but often we just don’t have the means.” a Zidisha borrower told me.
So far, most of the borrowers I spoke with used the earned profit and spent it for their childrens or younger siblings education.
Thus microfinance is not only able to boost someones business, to help the economy for now, but is a tool to reach sustainable growth, as human capital rises and new trained individuals enter the market, that can use their capacity, spread ideas and knowledge to further enhance growth.