By Betsy Ramser Jaime
Christian Golo was raised in the town of Dambai, a farming and fishing community. His parents both worked in farming, fishing and petty trading and he helped them with this work to help pay the family bills. Christian shares that, All children of school going age have to trek for long distances to the Dambai Township to be able to get access to formal education. Many colleagues dropped out of school due to the long distance.’
However, Christian was not one of them! He excelled with his basic education and continued on to secondary school. Unfortunately, in his last year of secondary school, his father passed away, and the cost of tuition was a significant burden for his mother to carry alone. Miraculously, his mother managed to support him and Christian continued to excel in his studies. On vacations, and outside of school hours, he was also able to help his mother on the farm.
After graduating, he was accepted to Koforidua Polytechnic where he graduated with a Higher National Diploma in Marketing. He then completed his national service in the Ghana Education Service, where he taught in a school. Once completing his service, he gained admission to the University of Cape Coast and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Management Studies. Always a hard worker, Christian still managed a fishing canoe on the side to generate income for his family while completing his degree.
In terms of his current business and interests, he shares, ‘Currently, I have an interest in providing quality health service to people in my community, hence my decision to pursue further education in public health science, where I moved from both rural and urban poor communities to educate them about the dangers of some bad health practices such as open defecation etc. I also, introduce them to some food supplements that can make a healthy and strong life at an affordable fee and also toiletries, sanitary pads & diapers.’
To combine his education, experience, and passion for health in his community, he has opened a one stop shop for people to purchase toiletries at affordable prices. He continues, ‘This business involves buying a variety of toilet rolls, soaps, diapers. Also buying and selling of water, (both bottle and sachet). I initially started with one sales girl, however at the moment, I have four people working and I am paying each a monthly salary. Two of them supply shops in nearby towns and villages and two are in the shop selling to walk in customers. We also supply pads to schools and educate adolescent girls how to use pads at affordable prices.’
As his business continues to grow, he is able to both reduce unemployment by hiring more members of the community as well as improving the overall sanitation conditions and health.
So far, Christian has raised 4 Zidisha funded loans and with his first loan of $250 in 2016, he was able to take a continuing education course. A few months later, he was successfully able to raise a second loan, this one for $718. This loan really helped him in a variety of ways as it allowed him to pay his school fees, invest in food supplements, and also purchase credit cards and tissue inventory that he could offer for sale. He also shares, ‘I will continue doing my community education and training of our local people about bad health practice, so as to reduce cholera in our towns and villages and other water related diseases. Educating the local people about good hygiene practices. I also intend to buy tissue paper from the manufacturing companies and sell this to communities at affordable prices to let people practices a hygienic lifestyle. During this education I also educate the people to clear weeds in the surroundings to ensure they live in a tidy environment, to prevent mosquito bites so as to avoid malaria.’
His next loan was for $1,122 in July of 2017 to purchase bulk quantities of items for his shop. More importantly, he was excited to increase his staff to six people by the end of the year. He explains, ‘This can help reduce unemployment in my community. Those employed are paid a monthly salary and are also able to provide food, and education etc. to their family. It is my vision to expand my personal business on a large scale within the next two years, by adding different item lines to the products I sell and supply. Currently, I supply toiletries to 15 communities on average with about 1200 pieces of toilet rolls per week.’
Most recently, in November 2017, Christian secured a loan for $1,580. Through this loan he was able to purchase new inventory for his shop including: toilet rolls, sanitary pads, soap, and detergent.’ He knew that this influx of inventory would be essential as he prepared for the Christmas season.
To start the new year, 2018, Christian shared these words with the Zidisha community, ‘In life if you want to go fast, you have to go alone but if you want to go far you must go together. I am thankful to all those working with me. Your team spirit, teamwork and thoughtfulness keep us going. I am grateful to you all for your support.’
Christian is a natural encourager and uplifter and does a great job of supporting both his fellow borrowers and Zidisha volunteers. He can clearly see the future and his place in allowing his community to thrive. In February, he shared this inspiring vision with the Zidisha community and fellow borrowers, ‘Zidisha offers the greatest opportunity to young entrepreneurs in this part of the world to help them grow their business and pay school fees (educate or train themselves) for the future. Remember it is very important to make regular payments and never default. Even if the repayment amounts are small it is still better than having past dues. In this way you can continue to borrow from Zidisha. With the presence of Zidisha in Africa and in Ghana, in the next ten years, I can see that, there would be more successful entrepreneurs in Africa and in Ghana more than ever before.’
Were you moved by Christians heartfelt words? If so, make sure to head on over to the Lend page to help other entrepreneurs to thrive in their communities.