Agnes Kyile is one of the most determined young and enterprising people we support. She is a hairdresser and her hairdressing business was on the peak of progress. I could confidently say she would have made a sustainable business. She had constant flow of customers trooping in until she could not handle everybody in a timely manner. She sometimes worked until the middle of the night. She had to ask for helping hands from others. She desperately needed apprentices to lessen her work load. She harvested!
But that was before this year. Today the story has sadly changed. She sits all day without a flop of a slipper into her shop. “I thought my customers had left me for my competitors”, she said. But she realises it is not her customers’ fault. It’s the virus’. Customers fear for their health even with their masks on. She is very lucky to get a customer a day. Business cannot be moving without customers moving in.
The nature of hairdressing business has a direct contact with the customer for a considerable number of minutes enough to be infected. It is one of the top businesses worldwide that is adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. As a result of the lockdown, markets were closed. Agnes travelled frequently to buy materials for the shop. She has not travelled again since March. Her family fed. She is a pregnant married woman with kids and a husband who is a peasant farmer. Her business too has dwindled too quickly, and her family is affected as a result.
Many people like Agnes, who had spent a long time building their savings from their business, have had to use them during the crisis. This means that if a lockdown happens again, business slows further, or an emergency happens – they are stuck. With the average household size in Lawra over six people, this has knock on effects on so many. To help people like Agnes get their businesses back on track, donate to ATE’s Rebuild campaign and contribute to a small business recovery grant. Thriving businesses lift up communities.
Written by Rexford Benon, Admin and MEL Leader and Hub Manager