Daya the Entrepreneur

Saturday, 1 April 2017 Daya the Entrepreneur SIM’s Operation Neighbour Care project in Zimbabwe supports holistic care for adults and vulnerable children affected by HIV and AIDS in rural Gokwe. One area of the project includes providing small loans to widows to support them in starting their own businesses. 

Thirty one-year-old Daya* found herself completely stranded when her husband passed away. She felt hopeless, alone and unsure how she could provide for her two sons. She sunk into a deep depression.

Daya’s life was completely turned around when Operation Neighbour Care (ONC) visited her village. The widows conference was a real turning point for her as she heard the testimonies of other young widows, information about women’s rights, up-to-date information about HIV and AIDS, and ideas about how to start a business from trainers.

Something clicked, and she realised that she could take control of her life. Widowhood did not mean that there was no hope for the future.

After coming up with a brilliant business idea, she approached ONC for a small loan. Today, Daya is a thriving business woman.

With the small loan, she was able to sell utensils and maize. When she first started making a profit, she began to negotiate with the village elder for a plot of land near the local school. She set up her small tuck shop and her business is flourishing. She was able to repay her loan within three months.

Daya has been empowered to provide for her family and pay her sons’ school fees. Inspired by their mother, her sons also have dreams for the future. The eldest wants to be lawyer so he can sue his uncles for taking his father’s cattle. The youngest son says he wants to be a doctor so he can treat his mother when she is sick.

Their little hut is filled with laughter and joy as the boys sit around the fire each night while their mother cooks. The boys recount their days at school, while Daya tells them jokes from her customers.

Daya was full of pride the day she managed to save enough money for a bed. This was something that even her late husband hadn’t been able to afford meaning they all slept on the floor. Daya is ambitious, hoping to buy another for the boys and one day build her own proper grocery shop. The future seems bright!

*Name changed to protect identity
Representative image used.

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