“it is a great change to be free from standing before people and asking them for assistance”

(taken from Issue no. 147, June, 2017 Let Me Narrate My Story newsletter of WISE)

I came to Addis Ababa from my birth place, Guhatsion, to be with my sister who had just had a baby. I had wanted to return to Guhatsion after a while, but she persuaded me to stay with her and start my own work. So, while staying with her, I began to buy and sell berbere (the traditional red pepper), traveling as far as Shashemene, Hawassa and Alaba for this purpose. Unfortunately, after a few years, some of my contraband items were confiscated and I stopped my activities.

I married when I was 22 years old. My husband worked as an electronics repair man, a job which he had been doing for many years. And I was engaged in the business of teff (the local staple) until I joined WISE. However, this line of work proved unsuccessful as I was buying the teff on credit from suppliers. Due to lack of funds, we could not progress in our respective activities, and our life was a hand-to-mouth existence. We also had serious difficulty providing for our children’s educational needs.

Until the time I underwent training in basic business skills, I had not thought that I would at the stage where I am at present. In the year 2008, I joined Hibret WISE Savings and credit Cooperative in Akaki-Kaliti Subcity. After having undergone the necessary training, I began to take out periodic loans and, discarding my teff business, started to work in the electronics business together with my husband. Until we accumulated sufficient working capital, we engaged in repairing tape recorders and radios in our area. I was better than my husband in the areas of customer relationships, and spent my whole time at work with little time off for social or extra-curricular activities. I did not want anything to distract me from my work.

At present, our business is on a good footing. In order to expand it I have taken out a Birr 90,000 loan from my cooperative. I also have savings of Birr 60,000. I came first in a capital accumulation contest among various cooperative members in Akaki-Kaliti. Currently, I have purchased a computer and lap top for use by my children.

My eldest son completed his high school education, but after entering university, found that the subjects taught were not useful for the line of work he intended to take up in the future. So he discontinued his studies and is now undergoing training in car maintenance business. I have bought him a Birr 60,000 motorcycle to help him with his work, and have also purchased a piece of land in an urban area of Guhatsion and built a house there for my family. It is indeed a great transformation in my life to provide everything my children need and to bring them up without difficulty, thus freeing myself from having to ask people for help. For the future, I would like to expand my business and set up a garage for my son.

There are a great many women in my area who are reluctant to take out loans, for fear of not being able to return them, and are thus sitting idle in their homes. However, WISE provides us with loans on the basis of our savings and does not demand collateral /uses peer pressure instead/. Therefore, my message is that through hard work and involvement in savings activities, it will be possible for us to transform our lives and livelihoods”.

Yishamush Endaye,
Hibret WISE Savings and Credit Cooperative.
Akaki-Kality Subcity