Meet Maria, Pump Aid’s first female entrepreneur.
To start our Self-supply project, Pump Aid provided support to a group of 25 entrepreneurs through marketing and business skills to enable them to supply a range of products and services to improve access to water and sanitation in their own communities. This programme gives individuals and households to improve their own water supply without relying on financial aid from us or anyone else. You can read more about this project here.
Over a course of just one year these 25 people provided a safe and reliable water source to over 20,000 people. Today we would like to introduce you to one of our first female entrepreneurs, Maria. She is a Pump Mechanic and Pump Aid’s Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Fred, recently had the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her experience so far…
(Maria in front of her house)
Fred: Tell me a bit about yourself
Maria: My name is Maria, I’m 45 years old. I’m married with 6 children, 5 girls and 1 boy, and 7 grandchildren! I work as a Pump Mechanic in Kaomba, in Kasungu District.
What did you do for a living before you became an entrepreneur?
I was a Farming and Growth Monitoring volunteer for the village Health Committee.
What made you decide to become an entrepreneur and set up your own business?
The communities around me had problems with their access to water as the boreholes kept breaking. This drove me to want to learn how to maintain them so I could serve my community by preventing them from having to use unprotected water sources.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy the feeling I get from knowing that I’m maintaining access to safe and portable water, which is also preventing people from getting ill so frequently.
Has your life changed since becoming an entrepreneur?
My life has changed tremendously. I have managed to build an iron roof and burnt brick house. I have bought a bicycle which is being used as a taxi bicycle, a solar panel for energy which I also use to charge cell phones in my area for people at a fee, and I bought a sofa set for my new home. I also now have two pigs which have since produced four piglets to mention just a few benefits!
(Maria volunteered as a Farming and Growth monitor)
How does this compare to before?
Money was a very big challenge as we couldn’t make ends meet. I was working as a volunteer and not earning any money but now I am self-employed and as you can see above, I’m earning enough to improve the facilities in my life.
How has your job affected your family?
My job as a Pump Mechanic has helped me to provide for my family. I am now able to afford hospital bills when my children and grandchildren are poorly. I can also buy the necessities for everyone, such as food.
What does your future look like?
I hope that one day I can buy land for my children as an inheritance and to grow my business.
Anything else to add?
I would like to thank Pump Aid for making me what I am today. Thanks for the training, coaching and mentoring I have gained.
We are so happy to see the positive difference in Maria’s life that has come about because of her involvement in this project. Pump Aid provided Maria with the opportunity to create a business, but we didn’t ‘make her what she is’ as she claims. She was always capable of these things, just lacking the opportunity, like many other Malawians. The world of development and aid is changing, and we are proud to be one of the first organisations to empower and enable both men and women and giving them a sustainable future.
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