They describe church as a mutual and spiritual outlet that helps support and encourage people to work with their hands and produce to make ends meet.
The talented quartet below testify that through their prayers and assistance from the church and relevant stakeholders, they are eventually making it as small entrepreneurs in Maun.
“I am a chef by profession and I think it is a God given talent. I specialize in outside catering and I cater for any kind of event, be it a cocktail party, white party or traditional weddings and events.”
Phiri’s passion for cooking started from a young age, when he would spend many happy hours in the kitchen, experimenting with different flavours and combinations.
As a youngster, he loved mixing ingredients and then waiting excitedly to taste the end results of the mysterious dish he was preparing – a trait that continues today.
“I went on to do certificates in Beverage Service and Food Production. I have learned to prepare different cuisines for a particular group of people, be it: African, English, Mexican, Chinese to mention just a few,” he reveals proudly.
Having delved into his past, Phiri then looks to the future, for which he has high hopes.
“I started my mobile outdoor catering recently and have received a lot of support from the locals and tourists. My business has potential to sustain me and my family and I am going to work hard to fulfil my dreams with this talent I have!” he concludes optimistically.
Phillimon has endured much heartache and pain in her 35 years on the planet.
When she was just 21, she lost both her parents – it is a testament to her courage and faith in God that she was able to come through that difficult time in her life.
“I can count myself among people now. When my parents passed in 2003 it felt like I had reached rock bottom. It was a trying time for me and my four siblings, but God saw us through,” she remembers quietly.
The deeply religious Phillimon salutes the family she met in her church, and describes them as a ‘God send’ who assist her through ‘thick and thin’ in the business she started last year via one of the poverty eradication programmes with the Maun Training Authority.
“Through the programme, I engaged in a short course called Jewellery Design and Stringing. This is the business I am currently pursuing. I produce all kinds of jewellery, which I sell at reasonable prices from P5 to P45.”
Phillimon mentions challenges like being unable to get ‘fancy, good looking beads’ as they are expensive.
However, she is adamant that if she could find a sponsor, she has the talent and skill required to produce unique pieces.
Reflecting thoughtfully on her year as a jewellery maker, Phillimon says her business has engraved the art of patience into her.
“I would be stringing beads and sometimes when I am about to finish something would happen and beads would go down pouring on the ground, forcing me to start all over again. I have also learned how to match and know what would be suitable for my clients just by looking at their outlook and attire!”
Phillimon now plans to empower other women on business and life skills.
“I am going to extend the love and warm welcomes from my customers and friends to empowering women and the girl child because the former have helped me to be where I am today. Finally I have a purpose to live and I can have my own money to run errands,” she ends, with a smile that is every bit as bright and dazzling as her jewellery.
According to Makale, it is because of God’s grace that her business has blossomed in less than six months.
“I sell shoes, school uniforms and clothes for men and women. I have so far opened two stalls in town and they generate a lot of money where I am able to buy my stock two times in a month because my items sell like fat cakes every day,” she chuckles good naturedly.
The success of Makale’s venture has even seen her take on a more prominent role in her family.
“This business has proved to be one that can definitely take me up the ladder of success. From the profits I make, I am not only able to sustain my little family but I also have excess to help the extended family – to a point where I found myself getting three kids from my sister to take care of!” she says with a happy smile.
“I would encourage people out there that when you pray whole heartedly and work hard, you reap success because I am going places with a business that is only selling mere clothing – anyone can do it and put bread on the table,” she adds humbly.
When financing houses repeatedly rejected her proposed projects, which deal with culture, toilet paper and taking care of old people, Mokgedi did not despair.
Instead, she decided to engage her hand exploring another of her talents – moulding flowerpots and learning about basic tarot spreads.
“I love plants and I sell them at reasonable prices. When I saw that people flocked for them, I decided to mould flowerpots to complement my plant business. In this business I am working towards saving to finance for my bigger project starting with the toilet paper one,” she explains.
Mokgedi reveals that although Batswana favour plastic flowerpots, she makes sure to educate them on the advantages of buying her products.
She says even though the market is ‘stiff’ she is able to get the little she needs to help her family, as she continues to sell her wares at reasonable prices, ranging between P40 and P100 depending on the size of the pot.