In 2013 Graceful Shumba, 39, was known as the feeble-looking tailor who sat behind a shop at Chachacha doing her daily sewing routine. However, six years later Graceful has become the proud owner of vibrant shop – the one she used to sit behind.
Like many women in Chachacha, Graceful worked hard to make ends meet in the drought and hunger prone district, but without the right knowledge and skills, it was always going to be an uphill task.
As fate would have it, Graceful’s life dramatically changed when she met Hand in Hand Zimbabwe in 2013, after which she joined the Batanai Self Help Group which consists of 10 women.
The organisation took the women through a six-month training in which they were taught 6 Hand in Hand business modules.
The women contributed $50 per month at a 20% return rate and this helped their individual businesses to grow. Within six months, the group’s revenue topped $5 000, which they shared equally among themselves. Each woman walked away with over $500.
In November 2015 the owner of the shop which Graceful used to sit behind decided to sell the shop and the 39-year lady, who had gone through the module Opportunity Identification and Enterprise planning, did not think twice about the offer and promptly borrowed money from her Self Help Group to secure the shop.
Equipped with her new entrepreneurial skills, she quickly divided the shop into three departments – a grocery store, a tailoring shop and a takeaway restaurant.
Without wasting any time, Graceful stocked her grocery store with the profits she had made from the tailoring business.
“It’s worth noting that I only started making notable profits in my tailoring business after going through the Hand in Hand Zimbabwe managing module,” she recalls.
Within six years, Graceful had risen from being a hopeless tailor to a shop manager and created jobs for young women in her community who work at her budding enterprise as a store keeper, an assistant tailor and a cook.
“Hand in hand has taught me to manage my business from implementation stage up to where I am now. I was taught how to expand my business from a small enterprise to one of the biggest businesses in this district.
“Before I met Hand in Hand I was in living in abject poverty, there was no hope for the future and things were hard,” she said.
Graceful’s success is not only in words, but she has a lot to show for it and has become an inspiration to many people in her area.
“I used to stay in a one-roomed house but from the excess profits I have made over the years, I have managed to build a 9 roomed house. In addition, I have also managed to buy two family cars and a commuter omnibus, which we use to transfer our goods from different wholesales,” she said.
“I make a profit of more than $1000 each month, which I use to pay school fees for my two children and a nephew,” she added.
The 39 year old mother says she will continue to be part of Hand in Hand Zimbabwe’s Batanai Self Help group and is looking forward to learn more from the organisation.
“The sky is now the limit for me. If all goes well I am planning to open another shop in Shurugwi town. My vision is to empower as many women as possible,” she said.