Like seeing it for the first time: everyday!

Entrepreneurship at the rock face: literally!

When you’ve been interested in, reading about, and involved with, this sort of work for some time you might expect there to come a point where you’re no longer taken by surprise by the situations you encounter during a working day. I was starting to think I might be approaching that point. To some extent I was right; unfortunately I do see many difficult situations repeated day after day. What I was in danger of underestimating was the extent to which peoples responses to these situations can take your breath away, regardless of the number of times you see them. The women’s group I visited on Saturday afternoon was such an occasion. An attempt to help local women enable themselves to address the problems they find themselves faced with, this support group was aimed at helping each member to establish themselves in a business of their choosing. The range of approaches this had given rise to was mindboggling. I met members who kept goats and/or cows for milk, chickens (where both eggs and the chickens themselves were the product), some made rope from sisal, some manufactured table cloths, others grew vegetables or harvested straw from their farms to sell by the roadside and, most unbelievably of all, some even broke rocks into pebbles by hand for eight hours a day, six days a week, selling the end product to the building trade. A Nursery had grown up alongside this entrepreneurial hotbed, allowing both the women to work and their children to be prepared for primary school. Most of the members were single parents, a challenging situation anywhere in the world, but particularly so in this context. In the face of significant challenges, to have formed such a proactive, friendly and effective group was something to be genuinely proud of, and something that, I’m pleased to say, left me aghast just as I’m sure it will the next time I see it as well!


One Comment

  1. I know exactly what you mean . A few years ago when I was in South Africa visiting CINDI I had the honour of sitting in on a meeting to discuss HIV/AIDS in the area. The problems seemed overwhelming, massive infection rates, a horrendous level of young girls being raped, huge levels of poverty and a lot, lot more. However, the group of local people, most of whom had very little formal education, soon reached a consensus, sorted out priorities and agreed an action plan. I was in awe, I doubt many boards of the big companies in the UK would have come anywhere near doing so well.


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