[Interviewed by Fred Mtendere – Pump Aid’s Monitoring and Evaluation Officer in Malawi]
Maria, 45 years old is one of Pump Aid’s first female Pump Mechanics taking part in our self-Supply Programme. Pump Aid’s Monitoring and Evaluation Officer Fred recently had the opportunity to ask her a few questions of her experience so far…
Fred: Tell me a bit about yourself…
Maria: My name is Maria, I’m 45 years old. I’m married with 6 children, 5 girls and 1 boy, and 7 grandchildren! I work as a Pump Mechanic in Kaomba, in Kasungu District.
What did you do for a living before you became an entrepreneur?
I was a Farming and Growth Monitoring volunteer for the village Health Committee.
What made you decide to become an entrepreneur and set up your own business?
The communities around me had problems with their access to water as the boreholes kept breaking. This drove me to want to learn how to maintain them so I could serve my community by preventing them from having to use unprotected water sources.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy the feeling I get from knowing that I’m maintaining access to safe and portable water, which is also preventing people from getting ill so frequently.
Has your life changed since becoming an entrepreneur?
My life has changed tremendously. I have managed to build an iron roof and burnt brick house. I have bought a bicycle which is being used as a taxi bicycle, a solar panel for energy which I also use to charge cell phones in my area for people at a fee, and I bought a sofa set for my new home. I also now have two pigs which have since produced four piglets to mention just a few benefits!
How does this compare to before?
Money was a very big challenge as we couldn’t make ends meet. I was working as a volunteer and not earning any money but now I am self-employed and as you can see above, I’m earning enough to improve the facilities in my life.
How has your job affected your family?
My job as a Pump Mechanic has helped me to provide for my family. I am now able to afford hospital bills when my children and grandchildren are poorly. I can also buy the necessities for everyone, such as food.
What does your future look like?
I hope that one day I can buy land for my children as an inheritance and to grow my business.
Anything else to add?
I would like to thank Pump Aid for making me what I am today. Thanks for the training, coaching and mentoring I have gained.
[Pump Aid provided Maria with business training, but we didn’t ‘make her what she is’ as she claims – She was always capable of these things, just lacking the opportunity.]