Women’s Empowerment Program - A Success Story
Maureen Mwabunga is a widowed mother of two. Prior to her becoming a beneficiary of ITEZO, her life as a widow was difficult because she had to take over the role that her husband, who was a teacher, had in the family. He was the breadwinner but Maureen had no formal skills at the time. She started small businesses but they could not sustain her. Unfortunately she had to leave her children with her parents and moved to another suburb to seek employment. She ended up working for a relative but could not independently take care of her children as her income was not enough.
Her brother heard about ITEZO on the radio and referred her to the center where she immediately enrolled into the knitting course. Her employers resisted Maureen’s new pursuit but she was determined to finish. With support from her parents – which she was hesitant to accept – she invested in chitenge material which she began selling. Upon the completion of the course, she managed to secure a contract with a school for 50 jerseys.
Faced with the challenge of not having her own machine but not wanting to lose her first knitting contract, Maureen approached ITEZO which allowed her to use their machines. The jerseys were delivered to the school and another supply contract was immediately awarded and for this contract she rented machines at a local market. She then heard about ITEZO machine loan scheme and applied for it. With it, she took the steps to open her own shop and within a short 8 months she was able to pay back her loan, rather than the stipulated 1 year 6 months.
Today, not only has her business grown but she has managed to train other people in knitting and this includes her former employers.
Life now has changed. Maureen is the breadwinner and is supporting even her extended family. Her first child has completed secondary school education while her young one is going into the grade 12. She asserts problems in her life are fewer. Purchasing a piece of land to expand her business is her current pursuit.