“I sometimes didn’t even have enough money to buy a bar of soap to wash our clothes, let alone buy new ones.”Read more
Enguday Adugna, 32, is a mother of two and lives in the slum neighbourhood of Lideta, Addis Ababa. Her husband, Girma, who works as a mechanic for a small garage with low and irregular income had been the only breadwinner for the family. They had been struggling to meet the needs of their family of six, which includes their two children and two nieces. Enguday explains: “Sometimes I didn’t even have enough money to buy a bar of soap to wash our clothes, let alone buying new ones. I could not get a good job as I only completed grade 7. But I had a strong will to engage in a small business.”
Fortunately, she heard about CARE’s ‘Women for Women’ project, which helps women to develop their own enterprises. When staff from the project visited her area, she was initially not accepted into the project as she did not have a viable business idea. But Enguday would not take no for an answer. She was so determined to become an entrepreneur that she went away and developed new ideas. Her initial idea was to produce beso juice (a traditional drink made from barley flour) for young men working in the local garages. However, Enguday’s business and income significantly improved after she attended the ten-day business skills training, facilitated by the project. She was so inspired by the training that she immediately started exploring new business opportunities in her area. She lives near the biggest Government referral hospital in the country, where seriously ill people are treated. Most of the patients are not strong enough to take solid food and depend on Atmit (gruel made from barley and oats) until they recover. Relatives of the patients, especially those who come from far away, cannot get the gruel, as the hospital does not supply it.
Enguday learnt how to make good gruel from her mother and it is a product that does not require much capital. She had found her market and started advertising her business through posters at the hospital gate, via the nurses and by distributing business cards. She adds: “I started to get a good number of orders every day. I make an average of 100 birr (US$3.70) profit per day. My husband is so surprised by my ability to generate such an income within a short period. He now supports me in the business by delivering the gruel to the hospital gate.”
Now Enguday does not need to rely on her husband for every family expense. She buys better clothes for her children and herself and can pay their school fees. With support from the project, she set up a Village Savings & Loans Association (VSLA) with other women from her neighbourhood and is saving into it every week, as well as saving in Ekub (a traditional Ethiopian financial cooperative). She has also taken out a loan from the VSLA to buy a juice mixer to help with her business. She proudly adds: “I surprised my husband when I bought a clothes washing machine which saves time that I can now give to my business. Buying such an expensive machine would have been only a dream if I had not engaged in the business. I gained more respect from my neighbours because of my success.”
Enguday by Michael Tsegaye for CARE, 2018
She concludes: “I never realised that there was a source of income for me in my neighbourhood. I want to expand the business as there is another nearby hospital if I can solve working space challenges. I want to create jobs for other women as well.”