Putting Family First – Mother Elamina

Village Enterprise business owner Elamina Mada and her children in school uniforms

When times got tough and she couldn’t find work to pay rent, Elamina Mada would discover her house door locked by the landlord, leaving her and her family without any shelter. To make matters worse, Elamina was very prone to getting typhoid fever. When the illness would take hold, she would endure days of pain and sickness without taking any medicine. She avoided the doctor and sacrificed her health, worried that the extra costs would leave her family without food.

“Imagine not being able to go to the doctor when you are really sick. That was me when I got typhoid fever. I had no money to pay for medicine. It was an agonizing decision, but I had to put family first.”

She and other program participants began our one-year microenterprise development program in 2012. Elamina’s courage and spirit made her an exceptional business leader in her small, three-person business group. With a grant totaling $150 and the help from her Village Enterprise mentor Eunice Chebet, her business group started buying and selling cereal grains at a small table at the local

Elamina Mada selling fruit

Over time they used their profits to expand into selling fruits and vegetables and have added a covered kiosk for the new products. She has established a good reputation with farmers; they now come directly to “Mama Elamina” to tell her when their grains are ready for harvest. “I have learned about smart business practices, basic record keeping, and savings. All this training helps me run a successful business.”

Elamina Mada at her fruit stall

Before entering Village Enterprise’s program, Elamina struggled to provide basic needs for her family. Now, her business has diversified and expanded. She can pay for medication when she gets sick, all of her children’s school fees, three meals a day, and new furniture. Elamina serves as an inspiration for the women in her village and for her first grandchild, Adimu, whom she can now afford to send to school.

“I am so grateful to Village Enterprise for opening my mind and for allowing me to provide a better life for my children and grandchildren.”

Elamina Mada and her children

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