Wednesday, June 4, 2014

“Respect all kind of work to become successful”

My name is Elfnesh Abegaz. I was born in the Western part of Ethiopia. I don’t know the exact year of my birth; I just know that it was in a remote rural area. My parents didn’t send me to school because back then it was thought useless to send a girl to school. I was employed as a house maid at an early age to support my family after coming to the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa and after a while I moved into a textile business.

In 1970 E.C, I got engaged to a man I used to do business with and started living with him then after; we now have 8 children together. I used to run my business and engage in Ikub (rotating savings) to feed my children. But the fact that the textile business held too much money left me with a hard time expanding my business. As a result, I found it difficult to feed my children and lead a good life.    

In the meantime, the Organization for Women in Self Employment (WISE) opened up a branch office at one of the Sub-Cities in Addis Ababa and I heard about the Organization for the first time. I searched and found its location to become a member of the Organization. I started saving money and took the basic business training course. I took my first round of loan 500 Birr ($50) right after the training.
I expanded my textile business with the money and started to trade. The blazing sun was difficult to put up with everyday that I had to put on tarps to protect me from the excessive exposure to sunlight. Irrespective of the difficulty, I managed to repay my loans on time. I continued taking out loans and repaying on time and sometimes I even earned twice the money I took out as a loan. Truly, my savings started to build up.
I have taken 11 training courses offered by WISE that helped me to plan my life, become aware of the culture of saving and the various working experiences and to implement or put them in action. I used to spend money before but not after the training. During the Epiphany (Meskel) Holiday (celebrated widely in the area I came from), I used to spend all the money I earned on my children because I wanted them to celebrate the Holiday equally with my neighbors. But now after having discussions with my children about how we can properly plan our budget for the Holiday I started to save money to be able to support my children who are in College instead on wasting it on a one day holiday.

Also, I used to stay at home during holidays. But now I go out to the market to sell my goods to make profit then celebrate the holiday with my family after work. After the trainings, I have become determined and fully dedicated to my work. The business training taught me to deal and handle my customers properly creating a profitable relationship. I work with my husband who brings me goods from the farthest market in town.
Now I have taken my 8th round loan which is 36,000 Birr ($ 1895). I have 27,000 Birr ($ 1421) in my savings account. I have a plan to expand my business more to achieve more in the future by fully investing all my time on my business. I advise others to respect all kind of work to change their life, to become successful and to be able to send their children to school rather than sitting at home complaining there is no job available for hire and spending their precious time drinking coffee with like-minded individuals.

Finally I would like to thank WISE for all the encouragement and support it provides us. 

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 Intenrational Education (IIE), Ethiopia Office 

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