Merry, grocery business entrepreneur

Before joining Hand in Hand, Merry  had been running a grocery business selling fruit, vegetables, snacks and fish for many years but had always felt she, and the business, were held back by her lack of education.

When she was younger, she wanted to be an accountant – but was not allowed to go to secondary school. “I could not succeed because of at that time there were traditions and customs that made people believe a girl child cannot study.” Merry explains.

The Hand in Hand business training programme with its focus on financial management, bookkeeping and marketing provided Mary with the skills she had known she needed and today she says, “After learning how to invest savings…how to budget and how to avoid unnecessary spending…the business has grown.”

Merry proudly explains that when she started the Hand in Hand programme, she had TZS 50,000 (US $21) and now she is confident she can save up to TZS 300,000 (US $126).

Things have changed at home too. Thanks to the gender-specific training module, which men and community leaders in the village also took part in, Merry’s husband is now helping her with domestic tasks, giving Merry more time to run her business.

Merry explained that, growing up, her husband believed it wasn’t a man’s to help his wife. “But, after getting the Hand in Hand education, about the responsibilities we had to help each other, he understood.”

The training has given Merry the confidence to take control of her business and speak out and have her say. “There are men who, in the beginning, think a woman does not have the right to become a leader. But now, women are equal. A woman has the same right to study as a man and she also has the right to do any job that a man can do.”