Workie, a 38-year-old woman living in rural Libo Kemkem, Ethiopia, dropped out of 10th grade and became a mother before she turned 18. After her husband’s death, she became the sole provider for her four children ages 12 to 22.

“I raised my children and sent them to school single-handedly. Life is very difficult for a single person.”

For years Workie struggled to make ends meet, relying on her own ingenuity to create small businesses that brought in a very modest income. Still, she lacked the support and resources needed to sustain her family for the long-term.

Workie serving a drink in her home

Workie sells homemade beverages out of her home two days a week to earn a small profit.

That changed when Workie learned of Glimmer’s training and loan program that empowers people to increase their household income. Workie took a $830 loan for garlic, a high-value food crop in her community. With training and support, she created a business plan and learned new skills. She also joined her local village economic and social association, where she received support from other loan recipients and a community facilitator who offers one-on-one training and advice.

Workie harvests garlic and sells it at a nearby market. She saves the profits and plans to buy a donkey and cart to transport her products. Her goal is to continue to grow and diversify her assets, help her children complete their education and see her neighbors have the same success.

Workie selling garlic

Workie selling garlic at the market.

“I will pay back the loan so that other farmers who have not yet received a loan can get it. I will become successful and use the profit for myself and my children.”

Workie has already saved enough to help her son, Gebre, who is in 10th grade, open a barber shop. He works on Saturdays and Sundays and earns around $7 a week. Gebre has learned the value of saving from his mother and puts away a little over $2 a week. He already has $50 saved and dreams of one day starting a bull fattening business.

Workie and Gebre sitting together

Workie at home with her son Gebre.

Workie and her community facilitator Mekuanint

Workie and her community facilitator Mekuanint.

Workie’s entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to creating a better life inspire her children, her neighbors and her community facilitator, Mekuanint, who calls her a “model farmer.” Workie sees a future where she and her children are financially independent.

“If people work, life will not be challenging. Praise be to God, my children have survived. When they have their own means of survival, life will no longer be tough for me.”