Me and my Mom and PMI


I come from Butembo, a town in the North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The youngest of eleven children, by the time I was born, my father was unable to work due to long-term illness. My mother had to work hard to make sure we had food on the table and that we could attend school.

Mother supported us by selling secondhand clothing and textiles by the roadsides in towns and in village markets. She traveled on top of overloaded trucks and unpaved roads with other men and women to reach distant markets for greater profits. In 1991 she survived a catastrophic accident that left her half paralyzed. She was obliged to stop traveling and focus her business in Butembo.

As her business expanded, she established solid credit with local secondhand clothing suppliers. She began borrowing bulk quantities of clothing that she paid for after selling them. Then she decided to start a network to help less fortunate women and men in and around Butembo. She trained them in secondhand clothing business skills. The trainees borrowed saleable clothing and textiles from her, and when they sold the goods, they repaid her and kept a profit for themselves.

This growing network allowed women not only to provide food for their families but also to send more of their children to school. Further, they could build working capital to continue expanding their textile business, or invest in different types of businesses.

Growing up, I was impressed by the entrepreneurial spirit of women and their determination to succeed. I also understood that when women are empowered economically, the resulting profits are typically used to provide better nutrition, improved housing, or education for any children who may be part of the family.

I pursued my higher education in India, where I learned about microfinance and recognized that my mother had been offering microcredit as part of her business.  My dream was to build a formal microfinance institution around my mother’s informal network. I wanted to reach more people in need and diversify the products. From this seed, Pro-Microfinance International was born. After my mother’s death in 2006, PMI became dedicated to her memory as it serves as a life-changing tool for poor families.