Chipo’s road to financial Independence

Chipo Taruvinga is a young, vibrant and upcoming horticulturist working towards becoming the best vegetable supplier in Chirumanzu District and Gweru. The 34-year-old woman could not afford to sit back and watch her family fall into the clutches of hunger due to Zimbabwe’s economic crisis. In her bid to fight poverty, Chipo unleashed the untapped potential in her, as she soon began to use her natural talents to realise her dream of becoming the best supplier of fresh vegetables to big lucrative markets in the Midlands province.

The married mother of two (2) from Nyamakwe Village in Ward 20 Mavise, first came into contact with Hand in Hand Zimbabwe (HiHZim), around July 2018, when she was already venturing into horticulture.

As it turned out, Chipo was fortunate enough to join Bright Mind Star Club, where she was introduced to the HiHZim health, motivation and entrepreneurship trainings. The three-pronged component trainings helped build her self-esteem, confidence and gain awareness on the importance of having good health. Chipo is grateful for the entrepreneurial training she acquired because the trainings stirred an unquenchable desire in her, which led her to live her dream – becoming the best supplier of vegetables to recognised markets and make a name for herself.

Chipo has also acquired a few technical skills, which include tomato jam making, nutrition porridge, vegetable drying, and liquid soap making. The emerging horticulturist is now adding value to her products. At the moment she is supplying both fresh vegetables as well as dried vegetables to her customers.

Chipo’s Bright Mind Star Club is made up of 10 female members, with each member expected to contribute monthly savings of RTGS$10.

“I am very happy to be part of this group, not only because it has become my second family where I get support, motivation and encouragement to achieve my goals, but I also borrow money from the club to buy pesticides to protect my plants,” she said.

The star club itself is doing very well as group members are involved in value edition, thus making nutrition porridge and vegetable drying.

Chipo also got the opportunity to attend a look-and-learn tour that was conducted at Zezai consolidated garden in Ward 11.  After the visit, Chipo was motivated and encouraged and she went back and reorganised her vegetable garden replicating all the methods she had witnessed at Zezai Consolidated gardens.

As an entrepreneur trained on identifying opportunities and resources, Chipo moved her vegetable garden close to a river, which gives her easy access to water supply for her variety of vegetables, which include covo, rape as well as tomatoes and onions.

With her newly acquired skills, Chipo’s garden is flourishing, and recently it was used for a look and learn visit in Ward 20’ as a way of encouraging other entrepreneurs to increase production.

“My garden is a living testimony that it is possible to earn a living from farming and that you can achieve anything in life only if you put your mind to it,” she said.

Through the strength of network, Chipo was able to secure a selling place at a nearby market, with the assistance of a local teacher.

Currently, she is selling her vegetables at RTGS $2 a bundle and tomatoes at RTGS$30 per bucket. In a month she gets RTGS $160 for her vegetables and she also sells at least four (4) buckets of tomatoes and get RTGS $120. These calculations have been consistent for the past three months.

But with Zimbabwe’s annual inflation skyrocketing and prices of goods and services rising on a weekly basis. Chipo was advised to keep up to date with change of prices in products so that she does not make a loss.

“My plan now is to supply large retail shops such as Pick n Pay with my products. I am grateful for the support I am getting from Hand in Hand and my star club, and God willing I will not rest until my dream has come to life,” she said.

 

Chisungo Investments continues to flourish

After receiving the Hand in Hand Zimbabwe Revolving Fund, Chisungo investments, a pot moulding group from Hillview village one (1) in Ward 22, Chirumanzu has burgeoned into a profitable and sustainable enterprise

Chisungo investments started as a family project in 2015, and the group which is made up of four members soon realised it could make more money after they joined Hand in Hand Zimbabwe programmes in 2018 where they were promptly trained on entrepreneurship,

health and motivation. The group quickly married these three components within the MEY project with their already existing idealistic plan of expansion. This was done by equipping the young stars to come up with innovative ideas in enhancing, marketing and making sure they keep business records in an arranged orderly manner.

The group was fortunate enough that all four of its members had their loans approved in March 2019 and each member got an amount of 300. From the 1200 the members acquired raw material they needed to bring their collapsing business back to its feet. Some of the raw material they got include bentonite, patterns (the pattern they use to shape their pots), safer and charcoal.

After acquiring these raw materials, the groups business has tremendously expanded.

The breakdown of sales since they acquired the loan until they finished repayment

Month Items sold Expenses Sales Profits
March30 pots$380$725$325
April30 pots$380$725$325
May90 pots$895$2175$1280
June110 pots$2.024$5400$3376

 

The group’s market includes community members and people from neighbouring villages.

One of the challenges the group faced in the past was lack of capital to inject into the business and to procure raw materials needed in the moulding process.

“We tried several times to secure loans from other microfinances but each time our attempts hit brickwalls. What was even more frustrating was the fact that demand for our products was very high and we couldn’t meet demand due to lack of capital,” Talent Matandauro one of the family member said.

“We used to produce 50 pots per month, which was not enough to meet demand from our local market. But since the time the four of us applied for $300 loans each to invest into the business, the group is now working on producing over 100 pots per month to supply the market,” Matandauro added.

Matandauro said the family group is grateful for the Revolving Fund

“I am grateful for the help that we got from Hand in Hand Zimbabwe through the Revolving Fund. Before receiving the Revolving fund, we couldn’t afford to buy basic commodities but now we are living a decent life,” he said.

 

Revolving Fund: A ray of Hope for Spencer Marufu

THE Hand in Hand Zimbabwe Revolving Fund has come as a ray of hope for 26-Year-Old-Spencer Marufu, a member of the Vimbanayi Self Help Group in Ward 10 Chirumanzu District. Since he received the fund in March 2019, the young business man has managed to impressively expand his buying and selling business.

The young business man joined Hand in Hand Zimbabwe in April 2018 after which he went through the business modular trainings and started his business.

Marufu who resales household groceries to his community members says before receiving the revolving fund, He could barely manage his business venture and it was bound to collapse.

“I could barely make any tangible profit from my monthly sales but to date I makes up to 600 per month.

“When I received the Revolving Fund I purchased green bar soap, cobra, termite poisons, maize, beans, finger millet, sugar and salt to my stock. I managed to sell all of these and I got more money to buy more stock,” Marufu said.

From the profit he made, the youthful businesssman managed to buy one cattle, seven chickens and a bicycle to assist with transportation of goods to his clients. He has also managed to buy a residential stand where he built a beautiful home.

“I benefited three fold from the money, my business has greatly expanded and through the many sells I made after received the fund I managed to repay the loan

Narrating his background, Spencer says his is a rags to riches trope as he grew up in a very poor family

“Growing up I never dreamt of ever escaping the poverty trap, but thanks to the Motivated and Entrepreneurial Youth Project, I now have an established business, I now have property that’s in my name and I am assured I will be able to take care of my children in future.

“I failed to attend school and I struggles to read and write but Hand in Hand Zimbabwe through MEY has encouraged me given me hope that despite all odds one can achieve their dreams.

Spencer is also proud of the fact that his Self Help Group Vimbanayi is one of the groups that piloted the Revolving Fund (RF) in Chirumanzu district after undergoing health, life motivation and entrepreneurial trainings.

Each group member applied for the fund and received $600 which has gone a long way in the expansion of their individual enterprises.

Blink Water Star Club, the fish farmers

The Motivated and Entrepreneurial Youth (MEY) Blink Water Star Club has successfully set up a Fish farming business in Chirumanzu which will see them selling over 500 fish per month and making profit of up to $2,500 once they link to the right markets. 

Aquaculture is gaining momentum in Zimbabwe as there is a huge demand for fish due to the high cost of other meat products. 

The group was formed last year after receiving training on Motivation, Health and Entrepreneurship and is made up of six (6) members which consist of two (2) males and four (4) females whose age range is 18-25 years. 

The star club started its Internal Savings and Lendings (ISAL)s in the month of December 2018 and they have been saving $5 since thenTo date the group has acquired $143 which they say will contribute to the further growth of their business. 

When the project was first implemented the group invested $781 worth of capital which they borrowed from the group’s chairperson.  

They bought 300 fish, pond construction materials and fish feed to kick-start their enterprise 

The group has different varieties of fish which include tilapia, catfish and sardines. Currently the fish sizes range from fingerling, juveniles and above palm size. 

The group believes they now have over 1000 fish from the time they started in December but have not started selling their stock as they are still trying to link to markets. 

The chairperson of the Group, Tasiso Munyemba said the star club members are grateful for the knowledge they have gained from Hand in Hand Zimbabwe. 

Blink water star club greatly appreciates all the knowledge and support they have got since the beginning of their interaction with the Hand in Hand Zimbabwe team. 

Besides the group enterprise the group members also have their own individual enterprises supported by the organisation and this has helped each individual earn a decent living,” she said. 

She said part of the first sales which they project to be $2,500 will contribute towards paying her $781 which she borrowed the group to start the business.  

The start club plans on building more fish ponds on top of the three they already have and strive to be the best fish farmers in the Midlands province.  

We dream of opening a fish outlet along the Harare to Beit Bridge high way route where we are bound to get ample sales,” Munyemba said. 

Tasi said the only limit to the growth of their business is security as some of their fish were stolen in March. 

“We do not have any source of income to help fence our fish pond and this is a major security threat,” she said. 

Caroline’s Story

Before joining a Hand in Hand Zimbabwe instigated Self-Help Group (SHG) and opening a grocery store in her home area in Lupane, 55-year-old Caroline Nkala could barely afford to take care of and pay school fees for her seven children. 

 “Before joining Hand in Hand, I faced challenges in paying children’s school for my children,” she says.  

The married mother of seven says she can now afford to pay school fees worth $40 for each of her children which she does on her own since her husband is unemployed. 

Due to the economic instability, employment opportunities are scarce in most rural setups in Zimbabwe 

Caroline joined Hand in Hand Zimbabwe in 2015 under the Garia SHG. The group is made up of 7 members (6 women and 1 man) who contribute $8 per month. 

In 2016 Caroline borrowed $500 from the group and managed to build a successful grocery store where she sells food items and detergents. 

She says she built the store after going through the Hand in Hand Opportunity Identification module.   

After going through the business entrepreneurship trainings from Hand in Hand Zimbabwe, I realised that there was a gap for me in my community to open a profitable grocery store since no similar service was available. 

I make a significant profit of between $650 to $700 per month and I have since regained the money I used to build the shop,” she said. 

In all this, the now successful business woman, boasts of the knowledge she got from Hand in Hand Zimbabwe citing thatthe organisation taught her to be self-dependent as a womanto work hard and how to effectively manage a business.  

Hand in Hand Zimbabwe has made me a visionary. Building a shop in a rural set up was not easy but I managed because I had acquired knowledge on how to do it from the organisation.  

Before she joined Hand in Hand she used to practice horticulture in a bid to fend for her family but according to her this was not easy as she had no skills. 

“Life was hard because I only managed to put a little food on the table and could not send my children to school. Selling vegetables could not sustain all my needs therefore, the intervention of Hand in Hand Zimbabwe was and is still of great help in my life”.  

She says apart from taking her children to school, she is currently building a big house at her homestead from the grocery store income. 

Caroline is planning to grow bigger in her business despite the economic challenges in the country and says she wants to expand her business to other areas in Lupane District. 

An emerging young entrepreneur: Tinashe Mugandani

Tinashe Mugandani is a 17-year-old young man who belongs to Kubatana Star Club in Chirumanzu, where he is one of the founding members. The club has eight members to date and has potential to grow. Tinashe had a difficult upbringing as he was reared by his mother following the death of his father at an early age.

The Mugandani family did not have it easy, as they struggled to get a decent meal and other basic necessities. Tinashe’s mother worked tirelessly to enable him to complete his secondary education at Chengwena Secondary School in 2017.

In an effort to assist his mother look after the family, he got himself employment at a local shop where he would sell commodities such as soap and cooking oil in the community. In 2017 Tinashe got introduced to Hand in Hand Zimbabwe by the Enterprise Development Facilitator (EDF). He became one of the earliest members of Kubatana Star Club. By then, the club members were only saving $2 per month and not every member could borrow from the savings since these were little. When he got trainings up to module 5 and having gained business experience from retailing, Tinashe asked his mother to lend him $30 as business capital in November 2017. He used the money to order 20 packets of jiggies and realised a profit of $10 within a week. By the end of 2017, which was just a two-month period, Tinashe had a net profit of $360. Off the profit, he gave himself a dividend of $140 that he used to help his family and the balance as capital for 2018. In 2018 February he managed to get a loan of $100 to scale up his business.

By mid-September 2018, Chengwena Secondary School offered him a contract to run a tuckshop after observing his business acumen and organisation. Since then, Tinashe is running his new enterprise effectively. He has exhibited business shrewdness from the trainings that he received from Hand in Hand Zimbabwe. Tinashe has a fully stocked tuckshop (community grocery kiosk) and has diversified his businesses to include broilers.

Joannes’s journey as a horticulture entrepreneur

Joannes Gwatipedza is an outstanding entrepreneur of Hama Maoko Star Club from Hillview Village One (1), who recently embarked on a lifelong journey of attaining his dreams.

The 34-year-old visionary and energetic man has a big vision of becoming a leading horticultural entrepreneur supplying big urban markets in Mvuma, Gweru and Harare.

Before he was introduced to Hand in Hand Zimbabwe, Joannes was already operating a horticultural garden only as a way of earning a decent living, but had given up his dream of becoming a successful businessman.

“My world was collapsing around me. I had no motivation, no business acumen and skills, no capital to boost my business. This really affected the quality of my crops because I didn’t have enough knowledge in investing and running a successful enterprise,” he said.

Faced with a challenge of fending for his small family comprising his wife, daughter and aged mother, Joannes had thought of giving up on the business to pursue other options.

“I was at my wits end and did not know what else to do. I want to applaud Hand in Hand for coming to my rescue,” he said.

Joannes’ vision was resuscitated after attending a Motivated Entrepreneurial Youth Star Club graduation ceremony in his community project conducted by Hand in Hand Zimbabwe and MASO. He also had the privilege of visiting a successful MEY support Star Club enterprises for Kupfuma Ishungu, Budiriro and New Canaan.

He got the motivation to mobilize other young people into a Star Club and be like other youths that he saw graduating and had enterprises that were doing well with assistance from MEY.

“If I look back I have no regrets that I took this important decision of my life to be part of the MEY project. I thank God for this wonderful opportunity he afforded me,” he said with a contagious smile on his face.

The motivational, health business development trainings that he, and his group, received from the project gave him a new hope, motivation, requisite business knowledge and skills that have made him believe in his dream again.

The young man now produces quality sweet cabbages and leafy and fruit vegetables, which he sales locally within his community, other surrounding villages and even Lalapanzi mining community.

He sells an average of 70 bundles per month with each bundle costing $2. As way of further boosting his business which had water challenges, Joannes used part of his proceeds from the enterprise to dig a well to ensure constant water supplies for his thriving enterprise.

Joannes asserts that each training session he attends is a building block to the growth and expansion of his horticulture business.

“All my life I never knew how to develop a business plan and make budgets for my business. But now I can safely say I am equipped to take my business to another level, thanks to the trainings I received from the MEY project.

The entrepreneur is happy that he cut off unnecessary costs that he used to incur in his enterprise before being trained. Since June 2018 his business has traceable records that he keeps, something which he could not do in the past.

He now boasts of improved marketing skills, which he is using to produce high quality vegetables that are in high demand from clients.

“I now have the confidence to engage with different customers and stakeholders because my products speak for themselves,” he said.

To Joannes, better is not good enough and he inspires himself to scale new heights.

Mlinga’s Dream a Reality

 

Tafara Mlinga is a 32-year-old man from Ifafa Village 1 in Chirumhanzu, who has fought his way out of poverty through the Motivated Entrepreneurial Youth (MEY) project and has done exceedingly well for himself and his family.

The father of three works with his wife on their small plot to produce enough food for the whole family. Over the past few months, Mr Malinga has used the skills and resources he received from the MEY project to help his family afford three (3) meals a day at a time when other people in the country are struggling to put food on the table. In addition to being self-sustainable, the Mlinga homestead supplements its income by selling maize to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) in Mvuma.

 

Mr Mlinga is a member of a Star Club called kupfuma Ishungu, which is loosely translated to mean that wealth comes through hard-work and dedication. Members of the club contribute a monthly premium of $3 per individual towards a savings fund. When Mr Mlinga thought of converting his garden into a viable enterprise, he borrowed $50.50 from the Club to buy vegetables and tomato seedlings. With the help of his brother Tichakunda, he was able to expand his garden and made use of poles and branches as a hedge to prevent goats and cattle from breaking into his plot and destroy the crops. The garden is strategically located in a wet land area and Mr Mlinga does not incur huge expenses when watering his plants.  Mr Malinga begun his project in June this year and has since then been earning an average monthly income of $280 from his business. He indicated that he sells vegetable bundles from $0.50- $2.00, tomatoes from $0.50 to $7.00 a bucket to members of his community, who are his main market source.

 

The Voice of Tafara Mlinga

“I used to have a garden before, but only worked on it as a hobby and never thought I could make a sustainable living from it. After my brother Mr Tichakunda Mlinga introduced me to Hand in Hand (HiH) model my life and that of my family has greatly changed for the better and am grateful for this life-changing opportunity presented by HiH in partnership with MASO.

From the entrepreneurial training he has received, Mr Mlinga mainly appreciated module 3 on Opportunity Identification, which made him realise a hidden opportunity to run his garden as an enterprise. Most people in his community are neither into horticulture nor taking advantage of the wetlands where his garden is located.

“In June this year, when most people in the country were involving themselves in politics, I slowly converted my idea into a money-making venture by supplying a variety of vegetables, which are on demand and in short supply in my community.

“My main challenge at the moment is to meet the ever increasing demand for my horticultural products as some days am failing to satisfy my customers’ needs.

“I am living my dream, doing something that I am passionate about while at the same time earning a decent living,” he said.

Mr Mlinga indicated that he appreciates the motivation trainings he has received as they have helped to boost his confidence and self-esteem.

“I used to look down on myself and never once in my life did I ever thought that I would achieve anything meaningful. But after I went through the trainings, I came to realise that I am very valuable and have the capacity to go for my dreams. Since then, my life has never been the same.

“I am now looking forward – with confidence – to a better tomorrow not only for me but for my family as well,” he said.

Rays of a better tomorrow

Pellagia Waini (27) is a mother of two (2) and married to Whatmore Rusina. She resides in Nhidza Village in Ward 11 of Shurugwi District about 50km east of the scenic Shurugwi Town in Midlands Province, Zimbabwe. Born and raised in Nhidza village and got married at a tender age of 20 years. Her first born child is a girl aged eight (8) years and a young boy aged 11 months. Her education achievement was Ordinary Level from which she did not perform well.

Mostly, Pellagia lives with her two (2) children as her husband is in the capital city of Harare working on contractual basis. This leaves her as the household head with responsibility of the well-being of her children. Her homestead comprises of a small round kitchen, a single incomplete room as a bed room and no sanitary facilities such as a toilet and ablutions hence her family uses the bush or resort to her neighbours premises.

She survives on subsistence farming done at her homestead as the main source of food and income. Fortunately, unlike any other young men and women, she had another piece of land allocated to her for farming. Unfortunately, lack of resources such as draught power, money to hire casual labour and general knowledge of farming as a business restricts her to utilise the land at it is currently idle. This has led her family have two (2) meals a day.

Pellagia owns two (2) goats and 15 indigenous chickens from which she sometimes sell to cushion her daily expenses. Approximately she consumes US$6.00 on food items such as meat and vegetables; US$3.00 on communication and US$7.00 on personal expenses such as soap and body lotion for herself and her family per month. In the last 12 months she used $50.00 on clothing and footwear (herself and her family); $20.00 for house hold appliances; $45.00 for school fees for her daughter (three terms paid for) and $40.00 on her housing improvements.

LET ME TELL YOU MY STORY OF A ray of hope

 My name is Pellagia Waini and I am 27 years old. I am a mother of two (2) and married to Whatmore Rusina. I live in Nhidza Village in Ward 11 in  Shurugwi District. 

In July 2017, I saw the Hand in Hand Zimbabwe Team in our village at our community gathering point explaining to my fellow village members about their new project. I remember, the new project was called Motivated and Entrepreneurial Youth and it further talked of leading stars and the future of Zimbabwe. That simple reason of Hand in Hand mentioning about leading stars and installation of hope captivated me to listen and join other young people. We were told that the project included training young people about health, life motivation and basic knowledge on how we can start our businesses. I was in dire need of such life skills.

Soon after, we learnt about the self-help group issues and I was so impressed with the “mukando”, Internal Savings and Lending Scheme (ISALs) method of saving. Initially, we were doing the merry go round of buying each other pots and plates with no idea of saving to start a business. This encouraged me the most as I hoped of starting my own business to help me earn money for use at home as my husband was a casual worker with no steady income. I was eager to learn how to manage my money and later I encouraged my old group members to join the project. Currently, we have a group that consist of six (6) females and our group was named Nokutenda (we believe). Using the ISAL scheme, we are now saving US$4.00 per month charging each other a loan interest of 10%.

My hope and vision is to start my own business that will grow into a bigger business. It will become my main source of income complementing our farming at my homestead. With money from my business, I want to build a bigger house and have my own sanitary facilities so that I do not have to use the bush or visit my neighbour for use of their premises. I also want better education for my children so that they can have a good standing in life.” 

COURAGE THE COURAGEOUS

Courage Mungofa is a 28-year-old young born in Mutare in the year 1989. Courage is from village 16, ward 20 under Chief Chirumanzu, under Headman Mundure, and village head Mukonere. He got married in the year 2016 to his wife Rumbidzai Zaranyika and were blessed with one (1) baby girl. Courage attained his ‘O’ level and he hope to continue with education and pursue a profession with Zimbabwe Open University doing a Diploma in teaching.

 

He lives in a household of seven (7) members, four (4) males. The family’s homestead comprises of two (2) thatched huts and a two (2) roomed house. Courage wishes to extend the house so that it can accommodates all household members. Apart from his house development plans, Courage’s business plan is to fully expand his poultry production business with the building of a fowl run being the first step in mind.

Currently, Courage feeds his family with the main source of food being their farming produce from their farming piece of land. This hassled the family to have the standard three (3) meals per day. Having had an exotic chicken enterprise that gave him a monthly net income of $40.00, Courage wishes to resume that business so as to improve his household’s livelihood.

Courage approximately consumes $50.00 on household groceries, $10.00 on transport and communication and $20.00 on personal expenses such as soap and body lotion for himself and the family per month. In the last 12 months, Courage approximately used $40.00 on clothing and footwear (self and family), $180.00 on school fees and $140.00 on housing improvements.  The income was from the selling of maize from which Courage intends to diversify by having poultry enterprises and do value addition of the agricultural produces.

 

Voice of Courage

My name is Courage Mungofa and I am 28 years old. I am married to Rumbidzai Zaranyika and we have a baby girl. I live in Village 16, Ward 20 in Chirumanzu District. 

In September 2017, I was invited by a friend of mine to a Hand in Hand sensitization meeting at Moffart Centre. The manager explained the Hand in Hand background and the new project. I heard that the project focused on the youth and is called Motivated and Entrepreneurial Youth. It was also highlighted that the youth were the leading stars and the future of Zimbabwe.  I was inspired by the fact that Hand in Hand mentioned teaching youth about how to manage businesses. As someone with a business already, I felt this could help me learn more about business, gain skills and use them to improve what I was doing.

Soon after, I encouraged my family members to join in the Self Help Groups (SHGs) so that we could start on group savings.  I felt this would have a huge benefit to us as we have different business ideas but could be able to start them through borrowing and lending money within the group. I hope and believe that these teachings we will acquire and ISALs we have started on will help me enhance my enterprise to the next level, so that that I would be able to achieve my goals for the betterment of my family. At the moment our group comprises of six (6) members, two (2) females and the group name is Duguvic.  As for our savings, we agreed on $10.00 every month with a 10% interest on any amount borrowed.

My current plans are to drill a borehole, work on broiler production, have a piggery, have a productive garden and a shop. All these plans are to achieve my goals of food and income security. I hope and dream of extending my homestead, electrifying it and being able to cater for my family’s needs.