The COVID-19 shock has been severe and widespread across businesses, with a persistent negative impact on sales. Small businesses particularly local traders across Zambia gravely felt the brunt of the financial dislocations with most small businesses completely shutting down, condemning hundreds of families into abject poverty. These businesses have bounced back after receiving grants from Caritas Czech Republic in Zambia, through the cash-based multi-sectoral Intervention initiative project.
Caritas Czech Republic comes to the aid of businesses negatively affected by the pandemic
Caritas Czech Republic in Zambia rose to the occasion and supported 184 small businesses with Cash Grants, in the amounts of K3,500, K5,000 and K10,000 depending on the size of the business, to cushion the impact.
Since last year, we have been supporting local people affected by the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. The contributions given to small business owners and local traders help boost their business and make the recovery after the economic problems.
Here is what the beneficiaries had to say about the Covid-19 impact and the grant they received from Caritas Czech Republic;
Meet Brian Lupiya of Lusaka province, business man and a trader in Soweto market. Brian is in the onion business and is among the many small businesses that saw the negative impacts of the pandemic.
In 2019, through the Covid-19 cash-based multi-sectoral intervention initiative, we supported Brian with a K3500.00 (Three thousand, five hundred kwacha) which he used to order onions.
Before the support, Brian Lupiya could only order 10-15 12Kg bags of onions, but now he is able to order up to 60 12kg bags of onions. This means that Mr. Lupiya is able to make more money that enables him to look after himself and his family from the profits without any problems. Thanks to Caritas Czech Republic in Zambia.
Meet Amos Phiri of Lusaka Province, who is also in the onion business like Mr. Lupiya. In 2019, through the Covid-19 Cash-Based Intervention initiative, we supported Amos with a 10,000.00 kwacha which he invested in his onion business.
Because of the challenges of Covid-19, Amos Phiri’s business almost died. His orders dropped to 50 bags of onion from 200 bags.
“Many people were not coming to buy my goods due to the Covid-19 pandemic and my goods were just going to waste because they’re perishables. I nearly lost everything. Thanks to Caritas Czech Republic for helping me with the grant,” says Amos.
Amos says the grant helped him bring back his business to life and he can now order even more bags of onion than before, which is 100-120 bags. Our support also helped him purchase roofing sheets for his house and pay his two workers.
He appreciates the help from Caritas Czech Republic and says that with support like this he can stabilise his business and sustain his livelihood.
Best Siame is also among one of the Covid-19 Cash-Based Intervention beneficiaries that we supported with a K3500.00 that he used to boost his onion business.
Due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, Best Siame suffered a loss that almost made him close down his trade.
“Covid-19 really affected my business. I didn’t even know where to start from until I was given the grant by the Caritas Czech Republic in Zambia, I’m really thankful to this organization,” says Best Siame.
Before he received the grant, he could only manage to order 70-150 12 kg bags of onion. Thanks to Caritas Czech Republic in Zambia, he can now order 400-500 bags and make enough profits to sustain himself and his family.
Tamazi Banda is a Lusaka trader, who, like the others, was supported with a K3500.00 through the Covid-19 cash-based initiative.
Before she received the grants from Caritas Czech Republic, Tamazi used to help farmers to sell their products and get paid when she sells everything. Her story changed when she received a grant from Caritas Czech Republic in Zambia that she invested in a small business.
“I used the money to order a bag of Kapenta which I’m currently reselling to earn a bit of profit to order another bag of Kapenta (Tanganyika Sardine)”.
Zambians appreciate our help
This help came under a project titled multi-sectoral interventions to prevent the spread and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 pandemic in the Western Province and Lusaka, Zambia, which aims at strengthening public health responses and improving community awareness, to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigating its impact on the affected livelihoods and agriculture markets.
The beneficiaries have since expressed gratitude for the positive results and encourage Caritas Czech Republic in Zambia to continue helping more entrepreneurs come out of the COVID-19 shock wave.