I, Tsilaviniaina 2/2

Of Youth, Entrepreneurship and Resilience in Madagascar
Tsilaviniaina in front of his gargote

'After a few weeks, I knew I would never see my stock ever again. I resigned myself to ask for help. So, I went to see my father’s family to ask for a small lump sum to help me to go back into business. They don't have much either, but in front of my despair, everyone put something in the kitty and we collected a little someting to help us.

I didn’t want to start the sandal business again on the street, I didn’t want to go through this anymore.

I decided to do something with my mother, and we opened a ‘gargote’ (a small food stall) at the back of the house. And it worked, we were in business again and we finally managed to start repaying my loan back with CEFOR . I was late but I paid it all off. Actually, I paid our last fee yesterday!

Since I started the ‘gargote’, every month, I put whatever I can into my savings account so I can have a small deposit and ask for a 4th loan with CEFOR. I have already AR 50,000 ($15) saved and by the end of the year, I will be able to take a new loan! My dream now is to open a grocery store, and make it big! I also want to build a house and get married.
Life has been tough but I’m proud. I’m proud because thanks to me, my two brothers now go to school. They go to private school actually, so they can benefit from a good education. I’m proud because I can help my mother. I’m the Head of the family'.

Slice of Youth in a Slum in Tana, not far from Tsilaviniaina's house

I was moved by Tsilaviniaina’s story. Not because of the lost and grief he had to go through, sadly this is somehow so common when you work in Sub-Sahara Africa.

I was humbled by his strength, his determination, his resilience and the perseverance he has showed and keep showing in getting back up on his feet and keep going, without falling into despair. This is when entrepreneurship means survival and access to capital, hope. He paid back his loan, all of it.

CEFOR's staff will continue to support him in his journey, recognizing his perseverance and resilience. He has proved to be reliable too. Access to further capital will be so important to help him pursue his dream, get out of poverty. We all know he has what it takes to achieve his dream.

What an extraordinary encounter I made that day. 

Mandroso’, as they say in Malagasy. Going forward, always!

If you, like me, believe that supporting entrepreneurship and access to finance to the poor is amongst the most important catalysts to poverty alleviation, then join our efforts in supporting MFIs like CEFOR in Madagascar. CEFOR is a socially-oriented MFI that offers loans to low-income entrepreneurs, as well as non-financial services such as health insurance, trainings and at-home coaching. You can learn more about CEFOR on their website, or on their Kiva’s partner page, and support them in providing support to the poor in Antananarivo.

About the author

Marie Le Page

A French citizen residing in London, Marie started her career at the Financial Times (FT), working with financial institutions across EMEA for 5 years. Passionate about sustainable development, she quickly learned how financial innovation can support economic empowerment and build local capacity in developing countries. She then moved to the FT’s thought leadership team to engage opinion and industry leaders to discuss and share learnings on themes ranging from sustainable finance to transformational business and social innovation. She pursued her career at a climate change and international development firm to develop their private sector engagement in 2014, while completing an Impact Investing course at the University of Oxford Saïd Business School to deepen her understanding on innovative financial mechanisms in an international development context. More recently, she took over the direction of a small NGO to restructure its operations and develop sustainable development programs in Asia and Africa. With her multi-faceted experience in both the private and nonprofit sectors, Marie now wants to gain experience on the ground in a role that combines development, entrepreneurship and financial inclusion. Kiva is an exciting and thrilling opportunity to work directly with agents of change and see first-hand how microfinance can change lives.