An Update from Madame Sarr

Dear Lenders,

Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting Mme Sarr at her house in the neighborhood of Parcelles Assainies, about an hour away from Central Dakar. Mme Sarr lives with her mother, her two sons and her daughter, as well as two brothers and their respective wifes and children.

Mme Sarr is very proud to be one of the first Zidisha borrowers in Senegal. Since her workshop was demolished she has been working from home. Mme Sarr employs a tailor, Mr. Maguette Olle Ndoye, who does most of the sowing. Mr. Ndoye is pictured smiling next to Mme Sarr’s new sowing machine.

Mme Sarr used part of her most recent loan to buy her new Singer 2OU33 sowing machine, which she uses to produce traditional Senegalese dresses, or boubous, using a technique called ‘Pakistani embroidery’, which yields higher quality products. Clients now come to her house to admire her boubous and place orders. Two of her nieces were very eager to be photographed wearing them; their pictures are included below.

Mme Sarr has also started to make ‘ecosacs’ for a local NGO which is planning to commercialize them. Ecosacs are devices made of polyester and tissue that are used to save gaz. A pot with boiling water and rice can be taken out of the fire and put inside the ecosac where the food will continue to cook until it’s done. When the ecosac is closed tightly around the pot, it keeps the heat in. Mme Sarr is provided the materials, and earns 8,000 FCFA (16$) for each completed ecosac. She’s made some 70 of them over the past two months and she is hoping for bigger orders.

In the future, Mme Sarr hopes to be able to buy the equipment necessary to produce using more techniques, including ‘petit fil’ and ‘gros fil’. She would like a big workshop downtown, with many employees, from which to produce and market her attractive boubous. 

Client Relationship Manager

A little help can take you a long way

Massamba Diouf used to run a stationary shop for a living, the profits of which would go to support his wife and two children. During a turbulent time, when he was facing strong competition, he came to Zidisha for help. His ultimate ambition was to use the proceeds of the Zidisha loan to start up a t-shirt and sports shirt business. However, he would need the clothing equipment first to make such an aspiration a reality. Sam Gant, our Client Relationship Manager in Senegal, managed to interview Mr. Diouf on the current state of his affairs:
I’m a Client Relationship Volunteer in Dakar and I visited Massamba the other day in his shop. There were basic office and printing supplies in his shop which he shares with several business partners. What he was most intent on talking about, however, was the t-shrt press that he purchased with his loan and now uses to put prints on t-shirts and baseball caps.
He showed an example of his progress with mastering the press as well as a very nice Zidisha shirt he recently designed with a Client Relationship Manager. He seemed to be doing well with his new business and mentioned that advertisement of his business was spreading slowly but surely, mostly by word of mouth. He seems most hopeful of making shirts for sporting events like football and wrestling as well as various festivals and campaigns.
Massamba lives behind the shop with his wife and two young children. He uses the profits from the store and his new shirt-printing business to support his family. He hopes to be able to save up enough with the new profits to buy certain supplies like expensive printing paper in bulk to cut costs. He also expressed interest in another loan upon the successful completion of this loan for buying in bulk for both his t-shirt press business and the boutique.

Catching Up with Djibril at Senegal’s Premier Retail Shop

The last time we meet up with Djibril Pouye he was selling various electronic devices in his shop. Now, in addition to selling iPads, laptops, and cellphones, Djibril has added chic perfumes to his stock for resale! Djibril’s high-end products allows him to differentiate himself from stiff competition. Even though he sells fancy products, Djibril still only earns about $9.66 per day. While he isn’t earning much money, Djibril can still afford to continue paying for his brother’s schooling. Check out what Sam Gant, one of our Client Relationship Interns in Senegal, had to say about meeting up with Djibril recently:

Dear Lenders,

My name is Sam Gant and I’m currently one of the Client Relationship Managers working here in Dakar, Senegal. Today I got to meet with Djiby, an extremely enterprising young man who took time out of his hectic workday in Dakar’s bustling Alize market to meet with me at his home in Parcelles. Djiby has recently expanded the products of his mobile business to include different perfumes, such as Lacoste, Black XS, and Allure, which e buys in bulk at Sandaga market for 1000 CFA per bottle and sells to his customers for a 50% markup. Often clients will request specific products that he will find for them, but following his partnership with Zidisha Djiby is able to do more business by having a wider range of stock on hand.

Djiby lives on thin margins, paying an average of 3000 CFA per day on food and transport, in addition to the 25,000 per month he pays for housing– meanwhile, he earns 5000 CFA on the average day. He is very committed to his family, and turns over part of his money to them to help his brother continue his education. He thanks you for your patience and confidence in him, and hopes to apply for another loan once he has repaid this one. 

An education that paid off

Studying clothing production for four long years has surely led to fruitful results for young businesswoman, Oureye Faye, who started a sewing business after receiving her diploma. Personal and economic hardships such as her father passing away and her household ceiling breaking did not deter her willpower to thrive financially, especially in her efforts to support her four children and the families of her brothers and sisters. It is imperative that she gets back to her sewing space as soon as possible to generate income for her family. She is using her Zidisha loan to achieve this objective, along with investing in fabrics and expanding her workshop. One of our Client Relationship Interns, Sam Gant was able to interview the ambitious Mrs. Faye about her business plans, the details of which are provided below:
My name is Sam Gant and I’m currently one of the Client Relationship Managers active in Senegal. On Thursday June 14th I stopped by Mme Faye’s atelier in Parcelles 12, a small workshop attached to her family’s house with bookshelves full of brightly colored fabric and a very fat rabbit dozing under the footpedal of her sewing machine. Mme Faye is garrulous and savvy, and explained to me that she had divided her Zidisha loan into three parts so as not to use it all to quickly. Due to the fact that many clients buy BouBous on credit, she needs to have a significant stock of capital to buy fabric to make new clothes while waiting to be paid for completed products. She sells between four and six boubous per month for between 10,000 and 15,000 CFA depending on the complexity of the order and her relationship with the client. She is able to finish elaborate garments in a matter of days, a cabability born of experience (she explained that she has been making traditional clothes since the age of 15, 15 years of experience by now.)
Although she supports a large family and the profit margins of couture are thin, Mme Faye’s Zidisha loan allows her to dramatically expand her client base and receive income more regularly. I hope to post a few photos I took of her and her family over the next few days. If you comment she is also planning to put up a post sometime next week and I’m sure she would be happy to answer specific questions.

Being the change I wish to see..

Over the last several years, the methodologies of microfinance institutions have enabled the provision of financial services to those living in extreme hardship and poverty. Having been a resident of Bangladesh for the first 18 years of my life, I remember reading and watching the news about Dr. Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank and how his vision that small loans could make a substantial change in the lives of the rural poor had changed my country’s social and activist makeup. In this day and age, free market enterprise might not create opportunities for one to attain a high standard of living, given the exponentially high population growth in most developing countries. Due to myriad of reasons, I became drawn to the concept of microfinance from my high school years, especially in its core mission to elevate poor people.
I joined Zidisha to nurture this passion of mine, alongside my economic development and film production interests. Being a communications associate has allowed me to correspond directly with clients from Senegal and Kenya, in order to help them discuss the benefits they have been reaping from their loans. I firmly believe that Zidisha’s free-flowing commentary modes between lender and borrower will escalate microfinance’s reach across international borders. Technology and social media has seeped into our everyday codes of conduct and performances, and microfinance industries’ exploitations of these mediums will surely lead to more improved and transparent methods of communication between lenders and borrowers. I have had a fulfilling experience so far in being a part of Zidisha’s team while balancing my heavy coursework at college. I hope to see Zidisha grow and become a beacon of light in the field of microfinance. 

Dakar’s Apple Store

Monsieur Pouye

Meet Zidisha borrower Djibril Pouye. Dijibril is from Dakar, Senegal, and is in the electronics business. He sells everything from mobile telephones to laptops (even iPads!). However, because his stock is costly, he needed some additional capital to purchase stock. That is when the Zidisha lenders gave Djibril a loan that helped him reach his goals!

Our very own Madeline met with Djibril in Dakar this past week. Check out her impression of Djibril and his shop in her own words below:

Hi Lenders, 

I was able to visit Djibril (Djiby) last week at his electronics business. He and his brother own a small shop located in a bustling indoor electronics market. They sell cell phones, but also secondhand laptops, iPads, and other specialty electronics. With many other vendors surrounding them, Djiby’s business differentiates itself from competition by selling higher-end electronics. Currently, Djiby says the iPhone is their best seller. 

They are currently paying back their first loan and are eager to finish the payments quickly in order to take out a second, bigger loan to support their growing business.

Fashion in Senegal

Astou Diop is a borrower from Dakar, Senegal. While studying, Madame Diop learned how to sew. A few years later she started her very own sewing and tailoring business! This young mother uses her business to support her family. Madame Diop wants to use her Zidisha loan to open a traditional boutique to sell her goods and increase her profits.

Our in country Client Relationship Manager Stephen met with Madame Diop recently. Here is what Stephen wrote on their encounter:

Hello lenders,

Yesterday, I met with Madame Astou Diop who lives in the Cambarene neighborhood close to the beach. She is married and has one daughter. She lives with her father, mother, three brothers and one sister. She and her brothers are the main providers for the family. One brother lives in Spain, one is a doctor and the other works in commerce. They split the expenses of the household. 

She talked a lot about her tailoring and sewing business. She buys her fabric from Sandaga and makes boobas, scarves and shoes. She sometimes makes other items depending upon the demand. She is very content with her progress and mainly works in her neighborhood selling her products to her friends.Unfortunately, her funds are only enough to repay her loan because she doesn’t have much surplus.

Once Madame Diop pays off this loan she hopes to take out another one and find a space for a small boutique. She hopes to display her clothing possibly at one of the large markets around Dakar for more exposure.

Client Relationship Mana

Some of Madame Diop’s goods.