Friday, October 18, 2013

Two is better than one

I was born in 1976 in Addis Ababa.  Soon after I was born, my father, who was a laboratory technician, was forced to go to Asmara, Eretria.  At the time, the area was a war front, and we heard that he passed away in the fighting.  My mother married another man and had a second child; however 8 years later, my father suddenly appeared.  Since my mother was married to another man, they processed the divorced and my father married another woman.   Thus, I grew up moving between the two separate homes. When I completed 12th grade I took the national exam but couldn’t score the passing mark that allowed me to join a University. When my father passed away in 1988, I lost all hope.  I moved to an Arab country and stayed there for three years.  I returned home to take care of my half sisters when I heard that my step mother passed away.
In the year 2004, I got married and gave birth to my first child but depending solely on my husband’s income for survival of the family was not easy.  Hence forced by the hardship, I opened a small shop.  However, since I had no knowledge on business management, I was forced to close it after just a short while. My mother then advised me to join WISE after she heard that my business wasn’t successful.  I became a member of Women in Self Employment (WISE) in the year 2005 and started to save money.  The Organization invited me to take a 12 days training from which I benefited a lot.  It helped me realize that I have been spending a lot of money in lack of the knowledge for proper handling.  Now, I have made saving a habit.  I have realized that we don’t need to go abroad and work in a foreign land to change our lives; we can also work in our own country and still change our lives!  I have also learned about business techniques, how to use time wisely and a lot more.  Had I taken this training before I opened my shop, I would not have been forced to close it.
After successfully finishing the Basic Business Skills training, I took a loan of $28 (500.00 birr)  and bought an oven for bakery and started to sell bread to neighbors and other people in my neighborhood. Then I took an additional loan of 1000 birr from my cooperative and started to sell different house items.  Currently, my saving has reached $278 (5000.00 birr).  I am also a share holder of $278 (5000.00 Birr) in Addis International Bank.  My husband and I have built a house on a land my father-in-law owns.  I put money saved from my husband’s income and my Equb (traditional way of saving money with in a group) to build the house.  So, we  managed to build the house which has a value of  about $1389 (25, 000 birr).  My husband used to think that his income was enough to support us but I proved him wrong by working hard.  Life cannot be changed if the whole family depends only on one person’s income.  Two is better than one.  Now, my husband has accepted the idea of me working.
In the year 2011, WISE organized a New and Viable Business Ideas Competition.  I participated in the competition by introducing candles in different forms and came in 4th place winning $111 (2000 birr).  I now receive orders from customers for candles and I am able to sell them with profit.  In addition to this, I have started a restaurant with my friends.  My future plan is to start a poultry farm. I also want to be able to become a professional photographer now I graduated from Master Films, which is a school of photography.