By Michael Ssebatenda
Market vending is a job which many think has little profit. However, the story of Violet Nayiga from Kyengera, a city suburb, paints a different picture. With 30 years as a vendor, she has a house to show for her hard work.
Nayiga is a single mother, with five children. She says she got the inspiration to work harder, while she was a maid.
She now has a house in Nabaziza zone, Kyengera, which she says was attained out of her savings from vending at a market in Rubaga, a city suburb.
Raising the money
In 1983, when her husband lost his job, Nayiga opened up a business to supplement their household income.
Nayiga’s brother lent her sh6,000, which she used to buy dry fish for sale.
“The beginning was not easy, but I was patient. I used to save sh10,000 every week.
“In weeks when the sales were low, I saved sh8,000 or sh5,000 per week. However, when they were good, I saved up to sh15,000 per week.
When my savings reached sh2m, I bought land in Mutundwe at sh1.5m, she says.”
Buying another plot
In 2000, Nayiga diversified her business by investing in vegetables and fruits.”
“The business accumulated a lot of profits. I was also part of a savings scheme in the market. When my savings reached sh20m, I bought a 30x60ft plot of land in Kyengera at sh4m.
“My children were grown up and the house had become too small for us. By that time, my husband had abandoned us,” she explains.
Nayiga sold off her first plot of land in order to raise money to finish constructing her house
Using the savings she had left in the bank, she embarked on constructing a house. “I hired a local builder who drew a plan for the house and helped me draw up a budget,” she says.
She bought 10,000 bricks at sh2m, 100 bags of cement at sh2m, 52 iron sheets, each costing sh15,000 and 20 trips of sand, each at sh40,000.
She paid the builder sh5m to cater for workers’ wages and food during construction.
She said it was not easy to supervise the project, as well as continue running her business.
“I often woke up at 5:00am to go to the market in order to prepare the stall for the day’s sales. I then dashed to the site, where I spent up to one hour, before returning to the market to run my business,” Nayiga explains.
She says some of the construction materials were stolen from the site.
“To raise such an amount of money from my job meant a lot of sacrifice from me.”
She resorted to natural hair because she wanted to save on salon costs. She also sold her first plot of land in order to complete construction.
“I had saved the plot for my children, but they also needed a home” she says.
Advice to women
She advises women to work hard, save money and be patient.
“It took me 20 years to achieve my dream. Without patience, such a thing is not possible.”
She now plans to venture into farming and rearing animals.
“I have some land in the village, which I will use for agriculture,” she says. She also plans to construct rentals at her home to boost her income.
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