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TheVillage Gardening

Giving something back

Posted on April 22 2014 at 1:21:15 0 comments

Huancavelica market, Peru

Hannah Genders plans a cycle challenge to help small businesses in Peru and elsewhere.

I’ve been running my gardening business now for about 20 years, and apart from a few challenges I have always enjoyed what I do.

Having made a visit to Peru in 2007, I was really touched by the poverty there and the massive gap between our standard of living and theirs, and I came back feeling I would like to do something long term.

Many of the small businesses I saw there were run by women, usually simple things like sewing, selling food at a market, or providing ducks to poor families who can then sell on the eggs and use the manure on their vegetables.

Simple ideas, but with the help of a small business loan these ideas can grow into something that will provide an income, help feed the family and educate the children.

With all these ideas buzzing in my head, it was at this point that I came across a charity called Five Talents, who do just this: they support enterprising individuals through village saving schemes and small loans, and also offer some business training.

The loans are offered at a very low interest rate and once the money is paid back it can be re-invested into another project or further funding for new ideas.

As the schemes are set up with very manageable payback fees, the repayment rates are extremely high. This whole process is called micro-financing, a way of getting small amounts of funding to people on the ground, in their own community to make change happen.

For me, I could see it giving a hand up to other business women across the developing world, not a hand-out that they become reliant on.

My response to finding all this out was to tie my business in with Five Talents, mainly by giving a percentage of the profits made but also for possible business links in different countries. I usually let clients know this is what I do, and I have a link on my website.

So why am I telling you all this now? Well, earlier this year I passed a big birthday (don’t ask) and have decided to fulfil an ambition, that of cycling “the end-to-end” or to be more precise, from Land’s End to John O’Groats.

We start cycling on June 28 (the “we” is myself and my friend Gabrielle) and hope to arrive in John O’Groats on Sunday July 13; so approximately two weeks’ cycling, mostly on little roads and country lanes where we can.

We are staying with as many friends and family who will have us on route, and hope to visit some wonderful places on this little island of ours – including a trip over the Isle of Aran, which neatly misses out Glasgow.

When I tell people I’m doing this, the usual reaction is: ”Are you doing it as a sponsored ride?” so I thought I might just as well. It also gives me the opportunity to tell people about micro-financing and encourage other individuals or businesses to do the same.

I will be setting up a “just giving” link on my website during June and writing a blog for those who might like to follow us up the country.

For more information on Five Talents go to

Above: Huancavelica market, Peru

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