Thursday, December 26, 2013

“If we work hard despite the type of job, success is guaranteed.”

My name is Elifnesh and I was born in the western part of Ethiopia. Because I was born in a rural area, I don’t exactly know how old I am. My families didn’t care to send me to school since the society in that rural area didn’t believe that educating a girl benefits her or anyone in the community.

 I went to Addis Ababa to be able to financially support my family and got hired as a house maid and in 1978 , I married a guy I knew from the textile business I started and we started living together. I gave birth to eight children.  Even though, I raised my children with the support of my textile business and ‘Equb’ (a traditional scheme of saving money in a group) I failed to raise them properly and our living standard declined day by day.

 It was while I was in such a situation that I heard about WISE opening an office in my area. I looked for the office, got myself registered and took a business skill training. Although, my job didn’t reward me with the capital I needed, I believed the training I took would get me a better life and so dared to take a 500.00 birr ($50) loan to expand my textile business. I used to sit in the sun for the whole day and so built a plastic shield over my head. I gave back the money I took from the loan on schedule and took consecutive loans afterwards still keeping on paying the money within schedule so I became profitable.

I took eleven different trainings provided by WISE. The trainings I took not only thought me planning, saving and sharing job experience but also how to apply them in real life. Before I took the training, I was more of a spender than a saver. I spent huge amount of money to make my kids happy during the holidays especially well celebrated in my area and culture. But now I am leading and managing my life with well executed plan. Now I save more money to compensate for the years I spent much and use my savings to support my children who are now in universities. I also used to stay home during holidays but now do my job for profit. The marketing training I took from WISE made me an expert in treating my customers well which has contributed to my success and profit. Currently, I have taken a loan of birr 36,000 ($ 2000) in eight rounds and have saved 27,000 birr ($1500) in my account.

In the future, I plan to stick to my business and expand it further to have an even better life. My message to all unemployed women is “if you work hard regardless the type of work you do, you will definitly become successful and be able to live a better life.”


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.