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Meet the Women

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Samfya, Zambia

Profession
Accessories
Business
Poverty Breakers
Country
Zambia
partner school
Camfed International and the University of Cambridge - Cambridge Assessment Group and Judge Business School
My team can approach anyone in our community and offer them our bags, and we do this fearlessly.

Business Overview

I am a co-founder of Poverty Breakers, a green enterprise that makes bags from recycled snack wrappers.

My team wanted to launch an enterprise that would make a positive impact on society. We had heard about a group in another district who were making beautiful bags from discarded snack wrappers — but the bags weren't available in our district, and we felt confident that we would find many customers for them. We recognized that if we learned how to produce these bags for our community, we had the potential to achieve two goals: earning a profit, and reducing pollution. We conducted market research in our community and found that 75 percent of the people we polled liked the bags and would consider buying one — some people wanted to order one right away, before we even started making them!

We received training in how to weave the bags from wrappers, and within two months, we made $87 in profit. Our weaving skills are greatly improving with practice, and as we learn to produce bags more quickly, we project that we will be able to increase our profit margin — especially as our materials are free, which keeps operating costs low.

Challenges

Our biggest challenge has been learning to make high-quality bags at a pace that is rapid enough to earn a profit. But we are progressing every day!

Results

We have learned how to work as a team, especially as this kind of weaving requires an efficient division of labor. We have also become good communicators — we can approach anyone in our community and offer them our bags, and we do this fearlessly.

Future Goals

We plan to propose a "Keep Zimbabwe Clean Campaign" to education officials, whereby we would visit schools to speak about the importance of preserving the environment. That would give us an opportunity to ask students to keep the environment clean by picking up snack wrappers — and donating them to our business! We think our bags could be very attractive to tourists visiting Zimbabwe and are looking at opportunities to tap into this market.