Sarah, 21 years old, is a fatherless girl born in a very poor family of four children. She was not able to complete her secondary school studies for lack of school fees and materials. After three years in secondary school, she was trained on hairdressing, manicure and pedicure. In 2012, she started receiving neighbours seeking hair services. Her mother who was (and is still) a VSLA member advised her to join a group herself – to learn how to save and then later get loans to expend her job and make it a business.
“At the first year of our VSLA cycle, my share was 85,000 RWF (approx. 120 USD). With this money, I bought hairdressing material and equipped my saloon. During the same cycle, I got a loan of 5,000 RWF and bought two rabbits who gave births. With income from my small business of hairdressing, I was able to buy two goats. Now I have twenty rabbits and four goats."
In her own words, Sarah continues telling her story:
In mid-2015, the village agent that trains our VSLA told me that I had been selected to be a mentee for the CARE business mentorship program for me to enhance my entrepreneur skills. My mentor taught me so many things that I felt very encouraged to work hard to increase my income. We discussed the entrepreneurial mind-set, business benefits and risks, customer care and how to become a successful entrepreneur.
Thanks to these skills, I decided to move from my village and came here to the Rukondo Market Centre to introduce new services of hairdressing to which I added manicure and pedicure services targeting teachers and students from the surrounding schools, employees of the nearest health centre as well as other people who often come in this market.
So far I have been able to easily earn 60,000 RWF. As I foresee to have more customers in the nearest future, I started training four new practitioners who are following a training that they will pursue for six months. Each student pays 10,000 RWF per month. Once they have completed the training, two of them will be my new employees and I will pay them on a monthly basis. The others will go and work for their own business.
"My next year plan is to sell the rabbits and goats and buy a cow that will supply milk to increase income and produce manure for my family farmland."