Monday, August 26, 2013

The foundation for my today…

My name is Meselu and I was born in the Western part of Ethiopia.  I am the third child in my family.  It was when I was 3 years old that my mother and father had a disagreement that changed my life forever. Following the disagreement, they got divorced and my mother could not raise all her children on her own and so sent us to live in Addis with some of her relatives. I came to Addis Ababa to live with my grandmother and started attending my primary education in a nearby school and transferred to a second one for my secondary education.  When I joined 11th grade, I decided to quit school and started selling used cloth to support my mother who wasn’t feeling well.  That became my first job ever.
It was during the same time that I met my husband who was also involved in the same business and we got married in 1991.  We now have two girls and one boy.  Hardship in life started after bearing children.  Even though we tried to work together and support each other, it was very hard to overcome the economic difficulty.  There were times that we didn’t even have food to eat and mostly our life was subsistence based.
We heard about WISE in 2010.  The employees of the organization were going door to door introducing WISE and creating awareness and I got introduced to WISE the same way.  They informed me of the different services provided by the Organization like trainings and access to saving and credit.  After hearing about WISE, I could see a bright future for my life. At first, my husband was not happy because irrespective of previously trainings I took, our life remained the same.  I convinced him finally and he started to fully support me.
After I became a member of WISE, I took the 12 days training that created the foundation for the change in my life and personality as well. I didn’t want to waste a minute more because I have also learned the value of time and money, business planning, marketing, family planning and many more.
After finishing the training, I took a loan of $47 (birr 500) for the first round to start a pity trade with my husband who then was distributing second hand shoes to small scale traders.  My husband helped me a lot in the business after he started seeing change in our life.  I returned the loan I took on time and expanded my business.  Recently, I took a loan of $ 4000 (60,000 birr) from WISE and have a saving of $2667 (Birr 40,000) with WISE.  My business capital is also increasing constantly.  My past horrible living situation is history.  In the future, I want to expand my business more.  I bought a piece of land in the city’s outskirt and I plan to build a big hotel there.
In 2012, I took part in the business capital growth competition organized by WISE and I stood first and received $470 (8000 birr) as a prize.  In addition, because my husband and I worked together, supported each other, and changed our life, we were awarded for sharing our experience to others as a couple on one of the ‘Husbands’ Days’ organized by WISE. The message that I want to pass to others is that if a woman works hard and looks further on determined to achieve her dreams, she will definitely meet her goals!

Women in Self Employment (WISE) is one of the four partner institutes of the African Centers of Excellence (ACE) for Women's Leadership program run by the Institute of International Education (IIE) , Ethiopia Office.

For more on IIE , ACE or WISE please follow the links below.