To increase the independence of the school, we started looking for a source of income together with Emelia halfway through 2015. During the months that followed, numerous proposals passed. From selling artificial hair, African women love complicated and time-consuming hairstyles, to renting out tents and chairs for weddings and funerals. Each time we drew up a financial plan together with Emelia to see whether the activity would be sufficiently profitable. These first ideas did not suffice because the start-up costs were too high or the profit margin too small or too uncertain. We also didn’t want to just start something.
At the beginning of 2016, the idea came to sell Kente rope. These balls of brightly colored rope are used in our region to weave traditional robes. Her neighborhood survey showed that quite a few weavers lived in our neighborhood and that they all went into the city individually to replenish their stock. v This was not only time-consuming for them, they also paid quite a lot because they bought small quantities. With a good start-up capital we would buy a large quantity, which would lower the price and then transport this cargo with our own school bus, which would save us on transport. We could then keep the sales price reasonable for our customers and still make a profit. A win-win for everyone! v
No sooner said than done: We sold the first loads from the school. This way we could immediately see whether the turnover would indeed be sufficient to continue with this. It soon turned out that this initiative was indeed going well and monthly sales increased. We even started to dream quietly about a real store.
Sooner than expected, around May 2016 we got the chance to buy a container shop in the village for a bargain price. The container was not yet fully finished at the time, but the central location, right next to the main road, seemed ideal to us. With a coat of paint, some tiles and a new ceiling, we opened Akwaaba Trading Center a little later! Over the years, the store was expanded with an awning to create more space. In addition to the rope, she also experimented with other products. We made an agreement that she can sell whatever she wants as long as she has done the calculations correctly and she does not compete unfairly with the other sellers in our village. Today the emphasis is less and less on the rope and more on normal foodstuffs and necessities.
We can already see that the store contributes quite a bit to the school, albeit in varying periods. These seem to coincide with the harvest seasons and holidays. Emelia, meanwhile, knows when to stock the store well and when it will run at a slightly lower ebb.