As a young girl, Gisele spent countless hours in her mother’s tailor shop. Eager to imitate her mother’s skill, Gisele would cut up fabrics and design models of her own. With help from her father, Gisele later enrolled in sewing school and eventually opened a tailoring business in Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of Congo. Despite her beautifully elaborate designs, Gisele’s profits weren’t enough to support her family, and she often had to use her business capital for their expenses, jeopardizing her business and stymying progress.
Seeking to diversify her business, Gisele received and repaid seven loans from HOPE Congo over the course of five years to expand her tailoring business by purchasing fabrics, sewing materials, and an electric sewing machine. Ever the entrepreneur, Gisele also used loans to expand into a new business selling smoked fish; small cakes; and foufou, a cassava-based Congolese dish.
Now, she is able to provide for her family using only the profits of her businesses. Reflecting on the impact of her relationship with HOPE Congo, Gisele says:
HOPE is the one who came to give me wings so that I can fly.