Rebeca walks into the SELFINA Mbeya branch with an air and a flair that is hard to describe. She is here to make one of her monthly repayments. As this is her third loan, so she knows the routine quite well.
As she settles herself into the chair and rewraps herself in her colorful khangas (traditional Tanzanian cloth with bold and vibrant colors and patterns) we explain that we are would like to spend a few minutes learning how her loans have impacted her life.
At SELFINA there are a total of 20 questions in total in which we ask every client when we journal, ranging from how much was your loan, to what are your future dreams for your family, to what are your recommendations for SELFINA. Each journal we conduct lasts about 30 minutes as we take the time to verify the information with the clients file and try to get to know a bit more about these clients.
When we reached to the question, are you married? She said, “nope, single!” As I too am single I give her a high-five! We exchanged a bunch of laughter and she then informed me that she is actually getting married soon and invited me to wedding.
But it wasn’t her being single that I decided to write about her (although her being 36 and still single is something that is a bit out of the Tanzania norm), it was about her story, her entrepreneurship that touched me.
Rebeca had first heard about SELFINA in the market place a few years back and she had encouraged her friends to go and take out a loan. After 5 of her friends successfully took out loans, she decided it was now her turn. Rebeca used her first loan to pay for classes on how to make cakes. Prior to the loan she knew how to make a standard type of cake, but nothing special. After, she knew how to make a wide variety of cakes, how to decorate them, and how to market them. Her cake business took off!
But was Rebeca satisfied with just making cakes for the rest of her life? Nope. She took the extra profits she earned and sent herself to nursing school. Now her future plan, after her wedding festivities are over, is to open a pharmacy where she can apply her newly gained knowledge yet again to another business. I am sure this business will do at least as equally as well and I’m interested into what she’ll use her pharmacy profits for. The sky is really the limit for Rebeca.
But what about her cake business you may ask? She plans on hiring employees and teaching them how to run that business. Rebeca is someone to keep your eye on. She’s definite a mover and a shaker./>