Fatou Tall is a 24 year old medical student living in Dakar, Senegal. She pays for her tuition by selling cosmetic products including cologne, perfume and other bathroom products. She does all this while running a chicken coop from her home. She is quite the go-getter! After graduating she would like to sell medical products. Fatou used her Zidisha loan to buy stock for her business and has already payed 86% of her loan back!
Read about her recent meeting with our interns below:
“Today myself and Cameron, another intern, met with Fatou and her family. Fatou is showing strong progress on her loan, with almost 80% of it paid off. Yesterday, she took out the last portion of it. She has sold almost all of her merchandise–consisting of jeans and women’s shoes at the moment, although she has also sold cosmetic products, blouses, and perfume.
Because she relies on the word-of-mouth of her friends to sell her products, she has found it difficult to balance her personal and business relationships but has grown a lot since the beginning of her loan and is now making her payments on time. She uses the proceeds from her merchandise to buy more at the central market in Dakar, Marché Sandaga, as well as to help support the seventeen members of her family. Currently, there are 6 other breadwinners in the family, working as vendors, accountants, civil servants, and electricians. However, she still finds it difficult to support her eight younger siblings–all of whom are in school, either secondary or university–as well as her elderly mother, and her baby nephew, Jacques Abdoulaye Tall.
When we walked into the house, we were warmly welcomed by Fatou. Over the course of the afternoon, we met her family, as well as various neighbors , and friends, one of whom, Dominque, is a fellow Zidisha borrower. We found Fatou cheerful and confident in her abilities both as a shrewd bargainer (she inventories in the enormous Marché Sandaga, no mean feat) and retailer. She proudly displayed the meager remains of her inventory, saying that she would have to restock far more quickly than she had anticipated.
Fatou is very motivated to pay off the rest of her Zidisha loan and ask for another one. She plans on using this second loan to continue building her business and supporting her family. Her long-terms plans involve renting a stall in the market next to the École Dior in order to have a home base for her increasingly lucrative and stable business, as well as a possible boutique, inch’Allah.”