Aisha's Story: I was Hopeless and you Found Me

Five Talents supports entrepreneurs in 10 countries around the world. This includes women like Aisha, a young mother from a poor community in Northern Burundi. Without any regular source of income, Aisha's family faced extreme poverty and the prospect of starvation.

“Before joining the program; I was not able to meet basic needs for myself or for my family. I was like a beggar and I couldn’t send my child to school.”

Aisha was desperate. She couldn’t see a future for her family. Apart from begging, there didn’t seem to be any other options. There are very few jobs in her community and Aisha was unqualified and lacked employment experience. She didn’t have any resources to start a business and she didn’t know what to do or where to go for help. Aisha was ashamed of her poverty and didn’t even have clothes that she could use to walk outside in public. 

“I was hopeless. I was like nothing in the community and I was living in isolation because I had no clothes to go where others are.”

In the midst of her desperate situation, Aisha was approached by a friend and invited to join a Five Talents financial literacy, savings, and business development training.

Business Development for the Vulnerable Poor

“During the program, I was trained on how to start a business.” Aisha met other women who faced similar challenges as she did. She learned basic financial literacy skills and the importance of savings and financial planning. She also learned six features of good businesses and how to start a business using only available resources. She joined a small savings group and gained access to savings, loans, and continual encouragement and prayers.

“Immediately after the training I went home to start [a] business.”

Aisha started small. She had meager resources, but she put all her effort and energy in applying the business lessons she had learned.  She set up a table and began selling peanuts and fruit at a local market in her town.

Aisha’s business met a need and it began to grow. She started selling donuts and other snacks at affordable prices and she attracted neighbors and others from her community. Today Aisha has many regular customers and is on high demand. She now employs another worker and the income she receives supports her family.

“I am able to pay school fees, to buy school materials and uniform for my child and our health care and I can easily get food for my family.”

As a member of a community savings group, Aisha saves and can access small loans. The loans help her continually develop and expand her business. As a result of her involvement in the group, Aisha’s outlook on life has also changed:

“Before I joined the program, I had nothing to do with God. But in the program, the facilitator opened the training session with a prayer and taught us to involve God in our everyday life. From there, I came to give my life to God who is now helping in my business. I can testify that He is my adviser, and my life has completely changed."

Aisha is grateful to God for the new hope she has found. She is also thankful to Five Talents and its partners in Burundi: the Mother’s Union and the Anglican Church of Burundi. During a visit two months ago, Aisha expressed her appreciation:

“I am very thankful to the program and the Mothers’ Union in the Anglican church for they have impacted my life.  Before I started this business my family and I were about to die of hunger. I am now able to assist one old person who is in need. I am also becoming a blessing to my community members. I urge the Mothers’ Union to extend the program where it has not yet reached.” 

Help us reach more women like Aisha. Your support transforms lives and builds a brighter future. Make a gift to Five Talents today.

Photos from top: Aisha sits at her kiosk in the local market, Women from the Gistinda Savings Group in Matana Diocese share food during their meeting, Aisha's business begins with the sale of peanuts, Members of the Kiyanange Savings Group in Gitega contribute savings during their weekly gathering.