Tecla and her Brick Factory
Mud, a little ingenuity, some perseverance, and a small loan from WMI are the four ingredients Tecla needed to make her thriving business. After two years in the loan program, borrowers like Tecla in Tloma village, Tanzania are diversifying and expanding their businesses to improve their earning potential and household living standards.
Tloma lies close to the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater, where women trace their ancestry back to the Iraqw tribe that inhabits this region. While the Iraqw have their own traditional language, many in Tloma have adopted Tanzania's national language and speak Kiswahili, reflecting the relatively progressive nature of the Tloma community. Because the village is less isolated, the community is more integrated with the country's overall development (compared to more traditional tribes like the Maasai); nevertheless, most families are extremely poor, living on an average household income of less than 50 cents per day.
Typical families engage in subsistence agriculture (maize, beans and soy beans) and raise livestock for home consumption and sale. Tloma's economy is active, which means the women in WMI's program have some experience buying/selling of goods. Their problem was access to capital to expand their businesses. With spirit and determination the ladies welcomed the WMI loan program as their opportunity to change their lives.
So where does the mud come in? Tecla used her first loan to open a shop in Karatu town, near the village. She trained her sons to help her early on, and that proved to be an important decision when she started another business and was able to leave day-to-day shop operations in her children’s hands.
Once Tecla had made some money from the shop, she was excited to start expanding her house. She started making bricks in her backyard for the construction, and it occurred to her that she had enough natural resources there to make extra bricks and sell them. Now she focuses on the brick business – she sells 10,000 bricks every dry season – while her children serve customers at her shop.
Most homes in the village are made of mud, cow dung, and sticks, but Tecla now lives in a brick house built with her business profits. Seeing her house, Tecla's neighbors are buying her bricks to build their own houses, which they can now afford because of the loan program!
Tecla is the perfect example of how a small loan and some training, combined with ingenuity and perseverance, levels the economic playing field for so many women. It doesn’t always take millions of dollars and an army of international aid workers to make significant and long lasting progress in improving the lives of disadvantaged women in East Africa. WMI capitalizes on your donations by directing its resources to a permanent loan pool.
When Tecla repays her loan there is another woman ready to take a loan and start on the path to economic success. Her business will mean improvements to her family’s health, nutrition, and education – the three essential factors to sustained change. Won't you help more women like Tecla realize their dreams?