Truwally and Mupaya on Overcoming Poverty in Africa
Poverty is defined as being in a state of having no money or goods. This definition reins true for so many people facing global poverty. In fact many people live on less than $1.25 a day. Among many things needed to get out of poverty a few personality traits that come in handy are the ability to be a self-starter, determination, and passion. Here are 2 individuals who have acquired just that. They have risen out of poverty in Africa and right in to success.
Store clerks usually ask: Will that be paper or plastic? However, in Uganda, that question is no longer asked. Plastic bags have been banned. Who would have thought that when this ban was implemented in 2008, a 16 year old boy would shine a light on a new business venture involving paper? Incredible enough that 16 year old was Andrew Mupuya. At the time, Mupuya was living with his parents in poverty. His parents both lost their jobs and could no longer afford to support his basic needs, leaving him to care for himself. “I had to get to meet my basic needs by myself,” stated Mupuya. After the plastics ban, the young entrepreneur had an idea to support the increased need for paper bags. This idea spawned the company now called Youth Entrepreneurial Link Investments, the first registered paper company in Uganda. Mupuya raised and collected the 36,000 Ugandan shillings ($18) needed to start his new business. From there on Mupuya and his team of 14 employees produced paper bags without the help of machines. The team assembles over 20,000 bags per week and supplies numerous companies around the country. From all of these efforts the young entrepreneur won the Anzisha Prize, awarded to African entrepreneurs. He has also been able to finish school and earn a bachelor’s degree in Commerce, as well as support his family.
In 1989, a war broke out in Liberia forcing many citizens, including Fomba Trawally to flee to Gambia. Years passed by and Trawally decided to return home to restart a business he pursued before the war. “When the war took place people had to be displaced from another point to another point. So, in the process of that they don’t take their shoes and they walk with their bare feet. And the 200 I brought from Gambia I decided to invest in to slippers.” The business which began with Trawally selling footwear out of a wheel barrel morphed in to a company to be proud of. His new company, Kombu Beindu and Sons imports plastic, such as, diapers and cosmetics from countries around the world. These are eventually sent out to supply neighboring towns with goods. So far, Trawally has made over 600,000 dollars and is able to open 3 more stores. He never expected to rise out of poverty and become a wealthy business man. “My advice to other friends around the world, including Liberia, is that you should be encouraged and believe that you can do everything with 100 or 500.” These two entrepreneurs are proof that people can rise above poverty and end up in a better environment. – Amy Robinson Sources: CNN, African Leadership, CNN-2, BBC Photo: Osa’s Eye