An exciting process is happening with our “graduates” in Kantolomba!
Jobs are scarce and there is a long waiting list for nurse/teacher placement. So how do our graduates earn a living in the meantime? As we discussed this challenge, it dropped in that self-employment might be an option.
So how do we do that? Hmmm.....wait! Theresa has a neighbor, Bana Bwalya, who is a successful business owner. Would she be open to meeting with our girls and sharing her knowledge? An emphatic “Yes!”
Bana Bwalya grew up in a slum, similar to Kantolomba. She dropped out of school in grade 7 and started selling fritters from her parents’ home. Eventually she made enough money to add repacking nchima bags to her product line. Then she started selling second-hand clothes, which led to renting a stand in Masala market. Her business continued to grow and grow, and now she has three shops, employs two young women, and owns her own home! Wow!
And here is what has happened after two meetings with our girls:

  • The girls (15 of them) have started learning best practices in starting and running a business.
  • They have formed five groups, three girls in each group, with each group deciding on a single product to focus on (charcoal, mealy meal, fresh vegetables).
  • The groups are beginning to research their chosen products -- where to get them, how to repack them and more.
  • Bana Bwalya will continue to help them develop a roadmap for their business plan.
The girls are benefitting from Bana Bwalya’s incredible generosity in sharing her knowledge and are learning to operate as a team. They will come together monthly, with an elected chairperson, secretary and treasurer. More on that to come!