Meet the Mayi Walas: Sagurani Friday

Sagurani Friday can best be described as proud and determined. A pieceworker turned entrepreneur and mother of 6, she is no stranger to hard work.

“I used to do piecework, and after that I started my business. I was saving some money in the village bank. When I received my shares from the village bank, I bought a sewing machine. Thereafter, my boy started sewing clothes, and I was selling them in the market. This is the business I am running currently. I still save some money.

We were meeting some challenges. Sometimes we went to the market and sold nothing. At the same time, children at home are complaining that they don’t have notebooks. This was a challenge in the business.”

Sagurani Friday, 38, from Nyama.

These challenges were compounded by lack of access to light forcing Sagurani to spend her hard earned money on low quality batteries to light her home.

“In the past, we struggled. Once we earned money, we had to buy batteries. We tied them together in order to have some light in the house but it was difficult. Sometimes we slept in the dark.”

But everything changed when SunnyMoney brought the Mayi Walas programme to her village.

The Mayi Walas sit together in a group discussing their business.

“When the solar lights came, I was in the group. I sold them. I made a good profit, but also my home became bright. The solar lights have helped me a lot.

Since I joined the group, I am able to borrow money. I borrow money to buy notebooks for my children. I’m very grateful for this. Our businesses have been uplifted by Mayi Walas.

Again, we are not spending any cash at the end of the week or month. We just put it in the sun. I see this as very beneficial, and we are very proud. When children want to study, they don’t struggle.”

Mayi Walas groups Chimwemwe and Tikondane having a VSL meeting in which members each pay and request cash. Sagurani is on the left.

“My life is changing and I expect it to change in future. I only ask that the solar business should continue. A group business is different from a personal business. Previously, we went to the market and made small money, but we spent it on relish. While in a group, you don’t squander your cash, because you need to stay in the group. Personal business can be destructive, but I trust group business. I have realised this through Mayi Walas.”

For Sagurani, a solar light is an opportunity to create a thriving, sustainable business to support her family.