Wema Abdallah is a primary school leaver from Kinole Primary School, Morogoro rural district, Morogoro. Upon finishing her primary school education in 1986, Wema could not continue with further studies. Her parents who supposed to support her further studies passed away.
Despite having primary school education, Wema did not look down on the idea to start selling local buns (maandazi) a business that took her through a downward spiral of loss after loss.
“I did not make any profit and sometimes I knew for sure I made loss. I never knew how to keep financial records and there was nothing to save. Despite all that, I still injected more meagre funds just to keep the business running,” she explains.
Wema further narrates that even though she did not make profit, she had never thought of starting another business. She could not identify opportunities, lacked required knowledge, skills, funds and equipment’s to mention a few.
“When I started my first business of making and selling local buns I did not have focus. As long as the business kept running and I had food, I thought it was normal. If it were not for SAT I would have never thought of trying any other business. SAT is the light for rural women,” she insists.
Her entrepreneurship journey changed the day SAT conducted introductory meeting in Kinole, where Wema was among the participants. “I will never forget that day, that was my turning point. After a comprehensive training, I knew I would be a big entrepreneur and farmer. Most of all, the trainings were relevant to our environment. SAT has awakened me. I now know my opportunities as a woman, I can now trade professionally,” she happily explains.
Currently, Wema is a Chairperson of Juhudi women-based farmer group with 35 members. All Juhudi members underwent SAT trainings and are now actively engaged in entrepreneurship, agriculture, saving and lending activities.
Wema and other group members, like many women in her village, lacked skills on organic agriculture and entrepreneurship as well financial matters. To their surprise, SAT offered them with all the necessary knowledge and other facilitations.
Commenting on her development, Wema says, “Currently I sell cooked food. I have employed four people to assist me in this business. Recently I bought 1-acre spice farm. Also, I own 1 acre (already planted cassava) and 2-acres of pineapple.”
She has turned her loss-making business into a profit-making business. She also engages in another business such as buying products from other farmers and sell them within the village and outside. According to her, this has dramatically boosted her income (by more than 100%).
“I have three children. Two of them are grown up and have their own activities. But my last born is studying in a private boarding school,” she adds.
Wema insists, “We were very lucky to be enrolled in the SAT trainings. Women and men in my village that have not joined SAT trainings are very happy for us. They are motivated for what we are doing. I have encouraged them to start their own groups. Currently there are five new farmer groups in my village: Tuungane (35 members), Nigandole (35), Nguvu moja (21), Vijana Tuamke (43) and Tupendane (27).”
Wema has also commended the impact of SAT to women and men in her village and recommends that SAT should reach out to more rural people throughout the country.