At the age of four, Tenagne lost the use of both legs in an accident. Her parents were poor and could not afford the rehabilitation care she needed. She never fully recovered the use of her limbs. Then, when she was just a teenager, her parents passed away tragically. She dropped out of school to take care of her younger sister. With her walking disability and a sibling to look after, Tenagne wasn’t able to find employment. In spite of tireless efforts to sell candies, clothes, barley or chick peas in local markets or restaurants, she was barely surviving and lived in a makeshift shack. She and her sister depended on the charity of people in the community.
When she first registered with the Cheshire credit cooperative, Tenagne participated in a 3 day training course on how to start and manage a small business. There she met and befriended other women like herself. After the training, she was given an initial loan of $100 to help her start a small vegetable and fruit retail business, and sell tea and coffee to drink. Within just a year, Tenagne was able to earn a proper living. After joining the local women’s revolving savings group, she was able to make savings on a regular basis.
She is now self-sufficient and independent. As she paid back all her loan on time, she obtained a second microloan of $150 to expand her business. Tenagne has become a source of inspiration to other disadvantaged women in her community.
Related work: Women’s Empowerment