Hadija Mohamed, is 38 and born in southern Tanzania, in Mtwara region. She lives with her husband and three school age children in the Kinondoni area of Dar es Salaam. He business is located near to her home, selling arts and crafts accessories, primarily made by Tanzanian craftspeople, with some items imported from Kenya and Uganda. Her major customers are tourists from all of the world and a growing number of Tanzanian citizens who represent increased interest in locally made crafts and artwork.
With her savings, and a small loan from her mother, Hadija began her business seven years ago. She opened a small shop near her home in Kinondoni Dar es Salaam, selling homemade sandals, bags and beads, primarily to neighbours and office workers. Hadjia learned about Tujijenge through a colleague who had previously been a customer. After hearing of her colleague experience and the benefits of a loan, Hadija decided to join a group called Glory. Through loans, Hadija has grown her business and now owns a curio shop situated in The Slipway, one of the prominent hotels along the Indian Ocean. Her major customers are tourists from all of the world and an growing number of Tanzanian citizens who representative of an increased interest in locally made crafts and artwork.
Looking back at her life and the development of her business, Hadija says, “it has taken me so long to reach where I am due to the many challenges I came across in my journey.” The obstacles she has faced include issues such as: lacking access to capital; little support from her spouse; limited local and national interest in locally made goods; and the seasonal nature of her business, I.e. following tourist seasons.
“To overcome the issue of seasonality nature of my business, I have to participate in several local and international trade fairs."
She says she is grateful to Tujijenge for giving her the opportunity of promoting her businesss at a stall at Saba Saba, a well known annual international trade fair that takes place in Dar es Salaam. As a result of this she says, “I gained a lot of new customers and my profits went up, thanks to Tujijenge.”
“When I joined Tujijenge, I could not believe that I could easily access funds on my own without a relative hand that made me become very aware and careful on how I spend the loan because I knew one mistake, one goal”.
She acknowledges that due to her prudence and care of cashflow management she has been able to achieve rapid success, allowing her to further grow her business, “I started with a loan of Tshs. 300,000 and in the second cycle I took Tshs. 500,000”. Today Hadija holds a loan of Tshs. 1,000,000.
"I do not know what I would have done had not been Tujijenge loans because unlike other organizations, their loans are reliable and they keep their promises. If I am told I would get money on Monday I get the exact day which makes my life easier when it comes to planning my cash flow."
In 2010, Hadija bought a small plot at Kinondoni where built a small house and currently lives with her family. She also bought a plot in the Mbezi area, in the outskirts of Dar es Salaam, and she is able to pay school fees for her three children.
“I have dreams of opening one more shop at Mwenge art centre and buy my own car to ease transport, God willing. If things go well, I also plan to start participating in the international exhibitions especially outside Africa”