Before Glimmer’s arrival in Medebay Zana, Ethiopia, Zeid had limited opportunities to earn a living in her extremely remote and poor community. Like most women in Ethiopia, she struggled to get by and meet the needs of her children with just her husband’s income.

“I was a housewife and financially dependent on my husband’s salary. We have six children, so it wasn’t really enough.”

In 2017 Zeid was given the chance to take out a loan through Glimmer’s sustainable livelihoods program. Despite her hesitations and lack of business experience, Zeid was determined to take the opportunity to create a better life for her family.

Zeid took a loan of around $500 USD for dairy production and participated in a three-day training on the care, nutrition, and hygiene for animals, and joined her local dairy cooperative. There she found a new mentor, Berhe, who provided her with guidance and support in developing a business plan. With new skills and a support system in place, Zeid took her first steps toward independence by purchasing a cow and a calf to sell milk.

Zeid milking her cow

Zeid milks her cow in the early morning.

Two years have passed since the purchase of Zeid’s cows and her business is thriving. She milks 16 liters each morning and makes a daily profit. With the profits, Zeid has repaid her entire loan while continuing to support her family.

Now, Zeid is working to grow her business. She continues to rely on her cooperative mentor for advice, trainings and support.

“Mr. Berhe is my inspiration. He is a very well-known businessman in our community. I have learned a lot from him because he shares his experience with us at the association. I would like to grow my business like him,” Zeid said.

Berhe next to cows

Berhe Gebru, leader in the milk collection association, is a source of support and encouragement for many.

The dairy cooperative that Zeid is a part of is a community-run organization of dairy farmers that share resources to collectively strengthen the dairy value chain. Glimmer supports the dairy cooperative through the provision of material assets such as refrigerators and butter makers, and ongoing training. Glimmer invests in rural cooperatives to build financial, social and human capital. Healthy cooperatives ensure the long-term success of local farmers like Zeid.

Dairy products

Dairy products collected and stored with materials provided by Glimmer.

Zeid is part of growth and success of her larger community. Her emerging business has provided security to her family and hope for her neighbors. Zeid’s success is so profound that she shares her wealth by giving 2 percent of her income to other families in need in her community.

Zeid carrying milk

Zeid carries the milk she collected that morning.