From zero to heroine

  • POSTED ON 20 November 2014

Anna-Maria Kisanga has been a client with Tujijenge since 2007 and is a member of Mpipi group, one of the most long-running and well established groups with Tujijenge. She lives at Mbezi suburb, on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam with her husband and three children. Before joining Tujijenge Tanzania, she ran a business selling soft drinks and managed a small poultry project. Although she earned an income from these projects it was not enough to support her husband and provide for the family.

Aspiring to expand her business, Anna-Maria decided to take out a loan, beginning with Tshs. 300,000 in June 2007. As part of a group receiving a loan, she was expected to save Tshs. 1,000 as part of compulsory savings. However Anna-Marie decided to save more, saving Tshs. 60,000, 20% of the loan she initially received, and this allowed her to access a bigger loan in the following cycle as well as securing her in case of business crisis. 

The first and second loans Anna-Maria received were used to buy more stock for her soft drinks business and develop her coulter project. Many of her major customers were fellow group members, buying both chicken and soft drinks from her. She took an additional Tshs. 1,000,000 in three consecutive loan cycles, allusion her to build up the property including space she now rents to a supermarket and several rooms outside her family house. She has also invested in additional stock for two new businesses, a stationary store and a grocery shop. Through developing her businesses and her approach to saving, Anna-Maria currently has a loan of Tshs. 2,800,000. 

Anna-Maria says that her Tujijenge loan has played a major role in transforming her life and the lives of her family members. She is able to provide her family with financial support and with her husband, they have been able to build a small modern house. Additionally, she is able to support three orphans, sending them to school and taking care of their personal needs. 

“I am taking care of the three children and they are all doing well at school.”

Through the support provided by the loan she has developed business assets, including a photocopier and computers for her stationary shop and a refrigerator for her grocery shop. Because of her excellent location, near a secondary school and college, her businesses have many customers and she is also now building a small restaurant, targeting students buying food for lunch.

The major challenge Anna-Maria sees for her businesses are with regards transport, for example trips required to buy stock. In addition, as students are her major customers, when school is on vacation, her sales decline significantly.

“Although I have a ready market for my stationery shop, my sales go down when students go on leave.”

Now running several successful businesses, Anna-Maria’s dream is to open another stationery shop.

“God willing in the coming year, I am planning to expand my business by opening another stationery shop along the main road (Morogoro road).”

To address her challenge of transportation, and because renting a truck is expensive, she plans to buy a small pickup truck. 

“I am planning to buy a pickup which I know will help me to save the cost of hiring every time I go to buy stock.”