Meet Regina: Turning a talent into a chance to thrive.
Regina Balirora, a 56-year-old mother of nine, is a graduate of the Street Business School (SBS) program through Kyaninga Child Development Center (KCDC). With a focus on empowering vulnerable populations, KCDC integrated SBS in their program by providing business training and entrepreneurial skills to women living in poverty, including caretakers of children with disabilities.
For as long as she can remember, Regina’s family struggled to make ends meet. The family depended on subsistence farming to survive, but Regina longed to do more than sell a few crops from the garden. Two years before joining the SBS training, a friend taught Regina how to weave baskets. She had a natural talent and enjoyed creating beautiful and practical items. She tried hawking the baskets in the village, but only earned on average $2 a month. Regina didn’t know where to start or how to find the small bit of capital needed to launch her business.
“At that time, I didn’t have enough money to buy materials for making many baskets,” Regina said.
Early in the training, Regina’s SBS trainer advised her to start small. “I borrowed $19 from my brother and rushed to the market to buy the materials I needed,” Regina exclaimed. Within a short time, she had weaved and sold more baskets than ever before but was puzzled as to why she wasn’t making a good profit from her business. As she attended more lessons, she discovered that the problem was that she didn’t know how to account for her business.
“Before, I didn’t keep records of my income and expenses. Now I do, and I don’t spend unnecessarily,” revealed Regina.
Regina now averages $81 per month in income from her beautiful baskets.
Regina experiences some ongoing health problems related to a caesarean birth many years before, and gradually the act of weaving started causing her discomfort. However, she is determined to keep her business afloat. “I train other women and we make the baskets together,” Regina shared. She continues to think creatively of ways to grow her business. For instance, currently she buys materials in small quantities from a neighbouring district that is quite far from home. To increase her efficiency and bring costs down, she plans to buy materials in bulk and sell the surplus to others in the same trade. Regina is now saving towards this goal.
Beyond the practical advantages of the curriculum, Regina has loved getting to learn and grow. Her dreamy eyes sparkled in the sunlight when she said,
“Street Business School reminds me of back in the day, when I sat in a classroom and learned new things.”
As we see so often when women advance economically, Regina’s successes ripple through her family and community, benefiting many others around her. She is caring for not only her own last-born, but also two grandchildren now, and helping women in her community rise out of poverty.
Through partnerships with organizations like KCDC, SBS is sharing our curriculum with women around the globe. Click here to learn how you can bring SBS to the community you serve.