After receiving a small loan of just 360birr (€14) from a local savings and credit cooperative, Meskerem Niname, resident of Buie in Ethiopia, has turned her fortunes around by plying her trade and becoming a successful entrepreneur. The loan allowed her to establish a textile shop from which she produces and sells garments for men and women as well as various other household items including bed sheets and pillow cases.
‘I had the skill, but I had no seed money to start a business’, Neskerem said. ‘Self Help Africa then organized us into groups to make savings for a period of 6 months. Once I had saved for 6 months I could get a loan.’
Meskerem has successfully negotiated a number of contracts with local groups and government bodies to provide them with the garments that she produces in her shop. Business is so good, that she now employs 2 other women to help meet demand.
‘I am very very delighted. In this area most of the wives are housewives, but I have my own income to manage my family. And this has built my confidence.’
She has ambitious plans to expand and is already looking at opening another branch in a nearby town. Textiles may have opened the door for her but she is exploring other business opportunities which can only be more good news for her 3 children and husband.
Already, Meskerem and her family have moved into their own home, their children are at full time school and their diet is much improved. It’s all thanks to her vision and a small start up loan which expanded her lifetime opportunities.