Meet visually impaired beneficiary of the TEF-UNDP Entrepreneurship Programme from Chad. Our programme manager caught up with him during the training session last week to ask him a few questions. He shares his story, her challenges and motivation below.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Dieudonne Noubadoum Rimadoum Mayengar. I am a craftsman specialising in weaving. I run an inclusive weaving workshop where we make different household items and offer training to everyday people and those with disabilities.
When did you hear about the Tony Elumelu Foundation for the first time?
I heard about the Tony Elumelu Foundation for the first time from an Alumni who had benefited from the foundation and now runs an Incubator; Agro-Business Chad Incubator. Earlier this year, I attended one of the coaching sessions he organised.
What motivates you?
The idea of creating our company “Best King” to offer training to young people living with disabilities (visually impaired, deaf, physically disabled) and people of all social categories and genders was born out of a critical gap identified. Chad has about 13 million people, including a significant number of people with disabilities. Unfortunately, there is only one policy and no laws catering to these members of society. This leaves them abandoned to their sad fate.
We are not only determined to be economically self-sufficient but to also contribute to the socio-economic development of our country. To not only be financially independent but to also be dependable.
Why did you decide to embark on entrepreneurship?
People with physical disabilities are usually live in very precarious conditions because they mostly come from poor backgrounds. It is difficult to get a job or even access working capital to carry out income-generating activity. It is why most of them are left completely dependent on other people.
In 2011 after my bachelor’s degree, I had the chance to attend a training programme in weaving organised by an institution around my locality. I then started my business to earn my income respectably instead of resorting to begging alms. I also decided to give the same opportunity to other young people with disabilities like me by creating a training center In this center / workshop we weave items like bracelets, keychain, flowerpot, chairs, armchairs, tables, belts, beds and other things with nylon thread.
What challenges do you face in the day-to-day management of your business?
The major challenges that we face are among others: the lack of adequate workspace because we currently work from home. We also do not have sufficient human resource and the capital to set up proper marketing and commercial strategies. Being a visually impaired person training people with full sight can also pose a challenge.
What will the initial capital from the Tony Elumelu Foundation do for your business?
The initial capital of $ 5,000 will be used primarily to formalise our business, secure a proper workspace, recruit sales agents and develop the marketing plan.
What opportunities will this programme offer your business?
The opportunities offered are Numerous. I am particularly grateful for the opportunity to network with other bright entrepreneurs, discussing ideas and learning from each other. The possibility of being awarded seed capital to formalise the business and chance of being offered a credit line with UBA for the extension of our business are also things that I look forward to.
How will your company impact the community?
Finally, like other businesses, we will contribute to the development of our community and country by paying our taxes, creating jobs and bringing sustainable products to the market for the benefit of the Chadian people. Also, with our training programme, we will empower hundreds of young people including the visually impaired, orphans and street children to earn a decent living.