When Mestawet Negash separated from her husband three years ago, it was necessary for her to start earning money to support her young family. She recently joined the new savings and credit co-operative (SACCO), established by Self Help Africa at Alem Tena, and took out a loan with which to start a business producing and selling Ethiopia’s traditional alcoholic drink, Araki.
Mestawet bought a number of distilling jugs, and set up a small home distillery beside the fire in her home. Just over two years later and she is now producing and selling 24 litres of the clear spirit liquor every week, and sells it to bars, hotels, and to private customers in the town. Late last year Mestawet Negash used the profits that she has made from the business to build a new tin-roofed home for her family, and is using their old traditional dwelling in the same compound to produce Araki.
She uses the bi-products from the production of Araki – including the used hops and germinated grain, as fodder for a calf that she bought, and is fattening in her home compound.‘I am very happy with the way that things have turned out, and am particularly pleased that I can afford to send my children, aged 15, 13 and 6 to school in the village’, she says.