Various Training Activities of WISE have Enabled Me to Become Successful

(translated from February, 2017 “Let Me Narrate My Story” newsletter

“Once I had received my diploma in Computer Science, I did not want to spend time looking or a job Instead, I began involvement in computer related activities which I though would provide me with a nice income. Initially, the income was good. However, when internet cafes began springing up in different place, I found it difficult to balance my income and expenditures. For this reason I stopped this line of work and embarked on sewing activities. Since I had attempted sewing work in my younger days, it did not take me long to familiarize myself with it.

At my place of work I used to hear people talking about WISE. So in 2012 I registered to become a member of the Edget Ber Savings and Credit Cooperative. Since I was encountering personal problems at the time, I was not doing my work properly. The training however, made me forget my problems.

In addition to business skills training, I also received training in Life Skills, Creativity and Health-related issues. All these skills were useful in helping to change my personal and business life. They also helped to overcome obstacles in both my personal life and business activities, as well as to help me find solutions to problems as they arose.

After completing the training, I took out a loan of 1,200 Birr to engage in promotional and printing activities, so as to increase demand for my products. As I could take out as many loans as I wished, I began producing quite a number of clothing items, including T-shirts, baby clothes and others. With a view to becoming productive in my line of work, I bought unusable/discarded pieces of cloth from factories at reduced prices and began making women’s panties. Endeavouring to increase my business activities and the number of potential customers/clients, I prepared business cards which I distributed to merchants and business people in the Kolfe and Mercato areas of Addis Ababa. By doing so, I was able to officially introduce my products. When various businessmen and business women including those who sold their wares on the street and in the countryside began purchasing my products in bulk, I hired some workers to help me in my work. By displaying these products in various bazaars and exhibition centres, I was able to attract both temporary and permanent customers.

After reviewing my efforts, WISE and MEDA, one of its partner organizations, awarded me a prize of 100,000 birr. With this money I purchased seven additional sewing machines, thus helping me to increase my activities for the better. I currently possess 12 sewing machines and have employed four permanent workers. I recruit temporary workers if I receive additional orders for my products or succeed in winning bids. With WISE having assisted me with the creation of market linkages to sell my products, I now work together with weavers. With the proceeds from my work, I was able to pay for a 2-bedroom condominium that fell to me under the government’s 3rd Round Lottery System for city dwellers not fortunate enough to possess their own homes. I am now renting out the condo, receiving a good income.

While living in the condo compound, I help clean up those places where garbage has been illegally dumped, planting vegetables and doing my part to create awareness among the condo dwellers on the need for a clean environment. I am ready to participate in Iddirs and other local associations to help my community.

Presently, my business activities have attained a good level of success. Demand for my clothing products are increasing from time to time, as all are 100% cotton. My current overall capital is estimated at over 600,000 Birr. I have taken out a 50,000 Birr loan from my cooperative and have savings of over 25,000 Birr. For the future I wish to establish a garment factory.

I wish to express my deepest appreciation to my organization WISE for its support to date in helping me to get where I am today. If other women who live a poverty-stricken existence are able to join WISE and resolve to work hard, they can help themselves and others. I also wish to relay a message here, which is that we can prevent cancer by using our country’s cotton products”.

Meron Endeshaw
From Edget Ber WISE Women’s Saving and Credit Cooperative
Kirkos Sub city