Ironsmith and client of Vitas, a microfinance organization and an IFC partner.
Although my father is still alive, am the cornerstone of our family. Everyone depends on me and on the money I am making. My job pays better than my dad’s; he farms a small plot of land. When you have three brothers and two sisters depending on you, that is a big responsibility. I was still young when I left school and started working. In our village, it is common for children to drop out of school and help their family by working. This is what I did. I abandoned my education after preparatory school. I started helping my father with his land.
When I turned 18, I began working as an ironsmith with a kind old man who later passed away. The industry was profitable and I didn’t want to leave it. So, I decided to start my own shop and secured two loans from Vitas. The business is doing well. There is a lot of construction in my village. New homes are being built and they require iron doors and windows for safety.
Aly and I have been close to each other since childhood. We are almost the same age. We are cousins. We went to the same school and that bond remained tight even after I left school. Aly finished his education and found himself a good job. Now he is a loan officer in Vitas and has helped me get my two loans. I will encourage my future children to finish their education and find a good job, like Aly.
Iron is difficult to transport. It is heavy and usually I need to bring tools with me too when I visit clients. So, before opening my workshop I saved some money to buy this truck. I use it to transport materials for work.
I applied for a $1,000 loan from Vitas to buy a gas-powered generator because I used to rent one every time I had a job. It costs $100 a day to rent a power generator, plus transportation. The loan helped me save over 60 percent of the cost I used to pay in my first year. Doing that helped me bring in two workers to assist me.
Being an ironsmith is a physically demanding job and entails many risks. One needs a strong body for this type of work. A firm grasp on equipment is definitely needed. I’ve cut my finger through before and don't want more injuries. That’s why I still swim and play football. This keeps me fit and my body strong.
I am planning to get married next year. I used another loan to build and finish my own home. I still don’t have money for the furniture, but hopefully this year I will be able to save some money for it. This is my future kitchen. I made it big because my fiancé loves cooking.