Like the majority of entrepreneurs in our global network, Reverend Ezekiel Dewan wears many hats. He stays busy as a pastor, entrepreneur, husband, and father of four. His family lives in Jos, a city in central Nigeria that is known for its beautiful scenery and comfortable climate.
For years, Ezekiel struggled to meet his family’s basic needs.
His salary as a pastor was not enough to support them, and they were stuck living in a cramped, rented apartment. One of the most significant challenges he and his wife faced was to pay for their children’s school fees. They knew education was the key to a better life, but scraping together the fees each month proved difficult.
These burdens weighed on Ezekiel. He was often anxious and had little time to invest in what he valued most—his family, his relationship with God, and preparing his weekly sermons.
He knew something needed to change—and he soon found that change through Light Microfinance Bank (LMFB).
MEETING ECONOMIC NEEDS
One of our local partners in Jos, LMFB was established to combat poverty.
Many community members like Ezekiel work extremely hard—yet remain poor—due to a lack of financial and business literacy, opportunities to save and invest, and access to affordable capital.
To address this, LMFB provides financial services and support to help entrepreneurs grow strong businesses that create desperately-needed local jobs. They currently serve over 8,500 members and have a lending portfolio of over $1.5 million (USD).
With access to affordable capital, Ezekiel realized he could start a business and supplement his family’s income. He approached the bank for a loan to start a transport business and his request was granted.
BUILDING A SOCIAL BUSINESS
Ezekiel used the first loan to purchase a tricycle for commercial transport—and his business flourished as a result! The number of tricycles quickly increased from one to twenty. He also bought cars to diversify his product offering, and his fleet grew from one to five.
However, Ezekiel’s family is not the only one to benefit from his business success, as he intentionally employs youth and provides them with valuable job skills training. So far, over 20 youth have benefited in this way. Ezekiel also now employs a Business Manager, another job he has created in the local economy.
BUILDING A HOME
With his transport business humming along, Ezekiel turned to another project: building a home. He owned a plot of land but didn’t have enough in savings to build a house. So, he approached LMFB for a second loan.
As he had established a consistent track record of paying his first loan back on time, LMFB granted him another one. Ezekiel used it to build a home for his family—a safe, comfortable, stable space he and his wife had long desired. They now live happily and no longer have to pay rent.
Plus, Ezekiel built a few additional apartments onto their home to rent out as an extra source of income.
In expressing his gratitude, Ezekiel shares, “By the grace of God, LMFB assisted me, and that is why we are here today. If not for the bank, I don’t think we would have this house today.”
BUILDING A NEW LIFE
With a growing business and a stable home, Ezekiel and his wife experience less financial stress. They are now able to pay their bills on time and cover their children’s school fees.
In fact, Ezekiel’s family now has income left over each month to save. He says, “With LMFB, I learned to be disciplined. Before, I didn’t save money, but now I ensure to save first.” With savings, Ezekiel and his wife can begin to dream and plan for the future—and be safeguarded against financial emergencies or hardship.
The transformation Ezekiel has experienced extends to his spiritual life, too.
As a result of the support and growth of his business, he is now able to attend spiritual retreats and other events for pastors that refresh him spiritually and invigorate his ministry.
Additionally, since Ezekiel has been able to hire staff, he now dedicates more time to crafting his weekly sermons. He can also afford to buy more books now, which has enriched his mind and his spirit!
In reflecting on all this, Ezekiel reiterates his gratitude: “I am grateful to God for using LMFB to assist me. I can now stand on my own, and most of my achievements are thanks to them. I want to thank them and their partners for their support.”
LMFB receives ongoing institutional capacity support from Partners Worldwide through training, mentoring, access to capital, and advocacy tools.