Since 2016, WEHAF has been helping women open their own business, empowering them to provide for their families and not depend on donations. Here, you can meet a few of the women, as they tell you their story.
Batul opened a sewing business
“I always wished to be a tailor”, the 26-year-old Batul begins her story. “Sewing is my hobby. And then I heard sewing classes at WEHAF were free.” This opportunity came at a difficult time in Batul’s life. Her husband died when she was pregnant with twins. Suddenly, she had to take care of three children all by herself. “I did some housekeeping, but it wasn’t enough, I could only afford one meal a day for my family. And I couldn’t pay the rent, I was indebted to my landlord.”
At WEHAF, she had the opportunity to take sewing classes for a year for free. She also learned how to bake and how to make soap. It wasn't until April 2022, that WEHAF received the donations needed to provide Batul with a sewing machine and materials. At that very moment, Batul could open her sewing business.
But she did not stop there. As soon as she made profit, she used it to expand. “I also started making liquid soap. Now, I have 20 customers a week who buy soap, and about 7 customers a week who need me to repair or sew something for them.” Currently, she can afford three meals a day instead of one. “I have paid off all my debts, I can pay the rent, buy clothes for my children and I have savings in case of emergencies. I am really thankful for WEHAF. I feel very good about my future!”
Aisha felt a sense of purpose again
63-year-old Aisha used to be successful in selling coal that people used for cooking. But then her leg had to be amputated and she had to use all her money to pay hospital bills and treatments. “I could not invest in coal anymore”, she explains in tears. “I can’t buy food right now. I haven’t eaten in two days.”
WEHAF provided her with an emergency food package and two bags of coal, so Aisha could once again start her coal business. One month later, we find her sitting outside her house, surrounded by buckets of coal and people from the neighborhood. “Before, I was alone, crying inside my house”, she tells us. “But you got me out. I’m so happy! I’m going to be okay now. A hundred times thank you.”
Consulata can finally afford food
Consulta’s husband passed away, leaving her with three children to care for. “My life was in a bad condition”, the 44-year-old Consulata says. “I was sleeping on the ground and I had to ask my neighbours for food.” During the time she was opening her business, WEHAF provided Consulata with food packages for her and her family, as well as a bed and a mattress.
Consulata never learned how to read or write, but she knows how to do business! In the past, she sold fried foods. And similar to Aisha, she lost all of her money to hospital bills. “I was very good at what I did. My customers were very sad when my business ended, they loved my chicken!”
In October 2022, a donation provided an opportunity for her to start her business once again. WEHAF and Consulata went to the market to buy everything she needed. Now, she’s selling chicken, sweet potatoes, fried bananas and cassava. “My life is good. I’m able to pay for food, rent and clothes for me and my children. Before, my weight was 50 kilograms, now, it’s 70!"
Peanut butter changed Veronica's life
When we met Veronica, she had just started selling peanut butter. She had taken out a small business loan to start.
The good news: peanut butter turned out to be profitable!
The bad news: the loan was so small, that her business and profit were also too small to cover her living costs.
A bit into Veronica’s story. She has two children, her oldest has autism. When she was pregnant with her second child, her husband left her, because he thought the next child would have autism as well. Leaving the 29-year-old Veronica all by herself with two children to care for.
WEHAF believed in Veronica’s business and invested in helping her increase her profit and expand. With her business loan, she had bought 5 kg of ground nuts and 50 cups. WEHAF added 20 kg and 200 cups. With this, Veronica could really start to earn money. Soon after, she decided to add orange juice to her business, which also turned out to be profitable.
"I can now afford three meals a day and I have paid off my debts. Before we didn't have breakfast. And when the clothes of my children were torn, I could not buy new ones. But now I can. WEHAF has changed my life."