By Betsy Ramser Jaime
‘I am Gabriel Akpallo from Offinso Namong in the Ashanti region.’ At 38 years old, Gabriel is currently in the carpentry business, operating his own workshop with three apprentices working for him.
Growing up in a family of ten, Gabriel finished his education through Junior High, but was forced to leave because of financial reasons. Immediately after school, he jumped right into doing carpentry work.
Speaking of his plans for the future, Gabriel writes, ‘I started my work at a younger stage and now am working seriously in Namong. I am hardworking and a dream chaser. I have ambition to expand my workshop to accommodate more apprentices. I am working hard in order to provide my wards a good education in the near future.’
Since joining Zidisha in 2020, Gabriel has been able to raise 5 Zidisha funded loans. As he prepared to raise funds for his first loan of $13, he shared, ‘As I have already introduced myself, my profession is carpentry work. Through that, I do a lot of things such as Windows flames, beds, doors, chairs, etc. Sometimes it becomes so needed to buy so many materials to do my work but due to financial constraints, I find it difficult to get it done. Therefore with this loan, can help me buy more materials to do carpentry work.’
A month after receiving his first Zidisha loan, Gabriel was already seeing the positive impact upon his business, as he raised a second and explained, ‘I can really say that this mode of loan has become something meaningful and helpful to many businesses around the globe. As I have started with my previous loan which you gave me, I am still investing this loan into my business in order to expand it to a high standard. I am now proposing this new loan because of the benevolence which the first loan brought to my business. Therefore I am gonna invest it into my business to help me to make more furniture for my customers and be able to repay my loan on time as I have already started doing.’
With his following two loans, Gabriel raised $126 and $428, allowing him to continue investing in his carpentry work. So far, his Zidisha loans have been transformative in helping him to purchase wood and materials ahead of time. He says, ‘my intention to apply for this loan is to invest it in my carpentry work in order to assist me to make more and more durable furniture for my customers. Sometimes some of my customers asked me to use my own pocket money to make furniture for them and they made payments when the items are ready for them to carry to their various houses. I found it difficult to meet their expectations due to financial constraints. So, therefore, I hope I can do that if you give me this loan and it will help me to attract many customers and it will also increase my daily income.’
Most recently, in January 2021, Gabriel raised his largest loan yet, of $650. While 2020 and 2021 have been difficult for many business owners, Gabriel is optimistic about what the future holds for him as he shares, ‘Many businesses are facing challenges but through hardworking and determination, I am able to repay my loans consistently. So therefore I am making more profit from my business and hoping that if you continue giving me the loans, it will help me to maintain my carpentry work and make more money to pay my loan.’
Would you like to make a difference in the life of another Zidisha entrepreneur like Gabriel? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to read about other business owners around the world.