Time was limited, a customer sat next to her, waiting to take her order, so Martha spoke to us while serving her.
“I have been selling bedspreads and pillowcases for the past 20 years. My mother introduced me. I can't think of any other occupation. And for 20 years it’s been hand-to-mouth. I spend what I get. Until VisionFund came in...” She paused, gave the plastic bag to the customer and then added “…now, things are better, I’m in charge of the business. I don’t carry it on my head anymore. People come to me.”
Poverty is not a curse or a vicious cycle per se. It’s the state of mind, the information required to make a business activity financially functional. The success story of Martha is rooted in the education she received from VisionFund. She was frightened by stories about loan defaulters in her vicinity.
According to her, business always moved in an unsteady direction, because she lacked two things: not knowing what to do with her business and how to raise enough funds to boost it.
After she participated in various group trainings provided by VisionFund during her first and second loan cycles, Martha decided to add some structure to her business. With her loans she increased the quantity of stocks she purchased weekly. She also decided to settle her business at a specific location instead of carrying her wares on her head to the nearby villages. Creating a network of customers, she has been able to become a supplier of bedspreads to other women in her district. With the help of her daughter, she keeps record of her financial activities, tracking her financial progress over periods. “I understood from our training that loans multiply in one’s business so long as there’s a clearly defined business plan,” She revealed.
The growth of Martha’s business gave her the confidence to rent another shop in the next district. Like a forming fetus, Martha’s bedsheet business is taking shape. A single parent, charged with knowledge, the future of her business is assured.
In 2021, her first daughter gained admission to the college of education while the second and third entered Senior High School. Martha revealed that she had sponsored them without any external support. “I didn’t fear much because I knew that with the level I’ve gotten to, my business can afford their education.”
Written by Abban Enoch Johnson, VisionFund Ghana