Anita's Inspiring Journey: Lighting the Path to Self-Reliance
In the tranquil village of Kabulazwili, in Kasulu district, Tanzania, we find Anita Japheth, a 29-year-old wife and mother of five, whose main source of livelihood is agriculture. Anita, driven by her unwavering commitment to her family's well-being, embarked on a journey that would not only transform her life but also inspire her community.
In rural contexts, the path to creating income-generating activities is often accompanied with challenges, particularly for women and youth.
The hurdles they face include a lack of skills, startup capital, and access to financial education, business, and entrepreneurship know-how. Anita, however, refused to be deterred by these barriers.
"In 2018, I decided to pursue my dream of having a reliable source of income by learning tailoring from my friend, Esther Mathias, renowned as the village's finest tailor," Anita begins her story.
She underwent rigorous training in tailoring-related skills, but she faced a significant obstacle—lack of capital to purchase her own sewing machine.
In 2019, Anita joined the Tusaidiane women saving group as advised by a colleague. Comprising 30 women, the group operates under the Kigoma Joint Programme, which is supported by the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) through United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) funding.
She began saving diligently, making weekly contributions of 2,000 TZS (0.85 USD) for shares and 500 TZS (0.21 USD) for social funds.
In 2020, she harvested and sold crops worth 100,000 TZS (42.74 USD). Thereafter, she took a bold step and borrowed 200,000 TZS (85.49 USD) from the savings group to supplement her income and pursue her entrepreneurial dreams. With this capital infusion and the proceeds from her crop sales, Anita purchased a sewing machine.
Before the group’s share-out session in September 2020, Anita ensured that she diligently repayed her loans. Her tailoring business began to flourish, yielding daily profits of 5,000 TZS (2.14 USD). These earnings played a pivotal role in supporting her family's diverse needs, from school fees to healthcare and ensuring they had enough food.
The Tusaidiane women saving group, received tailored training in group operations, business skills, entrepreneurship, and financial education. This comprehensive training inspired many members, including Anita, to explore various entrepreneurial opportunities.
Small loans issued over time empowered these women to pursue their dreams while maintaining the group's principles and regulations. Weekly contributions to shares and social funds fostered a sense of collective responsibility and empowerment.
As Anita's tailoring enterprise gained momentum, she used her earnings to purchase a second sewing machine, which she now rents for 4,000 TZS (1.71 USD) per month. This smart business decision further strengthened her income, allowing her to comfortably support her family.
In September 2022, during the group's share-out session, Anita received a dividend of 300,000 TZS (128.23 USD). Just one month later, she seized another opportunity, taking a loan of 100,000 TZS (42.74 USD).
Combined with her dividend earnings, she acquired a business frame worth 400,000 TZS (170.98 USD) in November 2022, further expanding her tailoring enterprise.
Today, Anita serves as a beacon of hope in her community and an ambassador for saving-related initiatives. She passionately encourages women in her community to join saving groups, underscoring the transformative potential of these initiatives.