Determination Meets Transformation: Mainstreaming Financial Freedom for Women Business Owners

by Amref Health Africa

Seven months ago, Aregash Meshesha was sleeping on the floor of an Internally Displaced People (IDP) camp in Debre Berhan. Today, she runs a popular and profi­table eatery in the camp and is not just self-employed, but also an employer.

Aregash fled her home due to conflict and found her way to the IDP camp with her four-year-old son while waiting to be reunited with her husband. She was alone and penniless but remained hopeful and resolute about ­finding a way out of a desperate situation.

Quickly drawing on her instincts, Aregash ingratiated herself and convinced people in the IDP community to invest 2,000 ETB in her idea to establish a coffee business. Within in a week of opening her tiny storefront, she was able to pay back her debt. By the time Kefeta arrived on scene, Aregash was brewing more than coffee—she was incubating a grand scheme to grow her business.

She signed up for classes Kefeta was offering on fi­nancial literacy, banking and investing, and job creation. Aregash applied for and secured a 7,500 ETB social grant based on her proven success and solid business plan for expanding her coffee stand into a café that served breakfast and snacks.

“I was able to purchase all my supplies with the loan and launched my new business. It didn’t take long for it to take off. So much so that I had to hire my sister to help me keep up with demand.”

Aregash makes sure to deposit her profi­t in a bank, thereby establishing credit. With marginalized and unbanked women unable to get a foothold in ­financial institutions, Aregash is not only breaking the cycle of poverty but playing a sophisticated role in the world of fi­nance.

“Not only do I tell my friends about the services offered by Kefeta, but we also try to work together.”

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