Due to the high rate of unemployment in small villages, government poverty eradication packages have become a life saver for one resident of Mosetse village which lies along Maun road about 42 kilometres from Tutume village.
In an interview with BOPA recently, the mother of three, Ms Banana Ntima said she decided to seek assistance from the Social and Community Development office in 2010 after the loss of her husband who was the bread winner. She said that when her husband passed away she was not able to take care of her children as she was unemployed.
Having gone as far as standard seven at school, she only relied on Ipelegeng to generate income and make ends meet but this was not enough as she sometimes went for months without employment.
Ms Ntima said that she chose to be assisted with a tent looking at the fact that there was no one who provided the service in Mosetse and she also loved decorating.
She said her project was approved in 2011 and she attended a workshop for a week where she learnt how to start and run a successful business. She was given a certificate of attendance after the workshop.
She said she also attended a workshop in Tutume where she learnt a lot about entrepreneurship, that is, customer service, tent decoration and ways to market her businesses. During the workshop they also visited other poverty eradication projects and had a chance to interact with them to learn more about managing a business and its challenges.
She said they were taught business management, bookkeeping and how to write business reports.
She said they even participated in a market day where they displayed different poverty eradication programmes to Tutume residents. She was given a tent, chairs and 4 tables to start her business.
Armed with the knowledge she acquired from the two workshops, she said she started by hiring her tent out and providing decoration service for weddings, parties, corporate workshops and other special events around Mosetse and the nearby villages.
She noted that although she has no formal training on decoration, she was taught how to decorate by a friend and has also watched other people do it which has helped her master the technique. She said that she had to buy vases, flowers and other decoration items in order to meet her customers’ needs. As the business is doing well she has managed to add more chairs and tables including plates, glasses, forks, and spoons to her hiring package. She said that the secret behind her success is providing good customer service at an affordable price.
“Giving attention to your customers, providing them with what they want and making them feel special is a good way of making your business flourish,” she explained.
She also noted that one should be in a position to go an extra mile to make customers happy so that they can recommend one’s business to other people.
She said that many people hire tents for special occasions and as a business person she is forced to provide quality service to them to make their day a memorable one. She highlighted that through the business she is able to sustain herself and her family.
“I can now afford to buy my children food, clothes and meet all their needs, this business has really made a significant difference in my life.
I am happy that I am in a better position to save money and provide better opportunities for my children in future,” she said.
However, she said that like any other business, she faces challenges. Due to lack of transport, she is forced to hire vehicles from people who usually overcharge her to transport her equipment.
She also has to replace some of the fragile equipment such as glasses, vases and plates from time to time after events. Despite the challenges, she continues to be positive about her business and hopes to own a vehicle in future so that she can be able to provide her services to more villages.
Ms Ntima said that she was happy that the government has introduced poverty eradication initiatives and urged people to utilise this opportunity to better their lives and provide employment for others as jobs are limited.
However, she said that social workers should visit beneficiaries of poverty eradication schemes frequently to monitor the businesses and give advice, adding that the main reason many of these fail is due to lack of monitoring by the social welfare office.
Source : BOPA