A LIFE IN BRIEF
Talatu Salihu is a 40-year woman; a thrift collector born into the family of Shehu and Tabawa Ahmadu in Bauchi State. She has no Western education, but studied Arabic and Islamic studies and can write a bit of Hausa. She has been in the business of thrift collection for 10 years in Bauchi, the Bauchi State capital. She has recorded a huge success doing thrift collecting, known as adashe in Hausa
by BEATRICE GONDYI
My name is Talatu Salihu. I was born 40 years ago into the family of Shehu and Tabawa Ahmadu in Bauchi State. I was not educated formally but I studied Arabic and Islamic studies and can write a bit of Hausa. I am married with children and presently I am a thrift collector.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
It started for me about 10 years ago when I joined an adashe group, (a thrift group). There were 10 of us and each person was to receive N30, 000 as we were saving N3000 each. I did that for two years but I was disappointed with my last collection because the members did not contribute for me when it was my turn to be given. It got so bad that I was paid miserably so my money did not benefit me as I couldn’t do anything with the money. It was after that bitter experience that I decided to form my own thrift collection. I started with 10 women on a weekly basis and we were contributing N3000. I was able to pay everyone without hitches and that was the beginning for me. Now both men and women trust me with their hard-earned money. Some save weekly while others save on a monthly basis.
WHAT STANDS YOU OUT FROM COMPETITORS
What stands me out from competitors is my determination and commitment to the business, even though I am not literate, I ensure that I document all monies given to me. I don’t have a bank account but all those saving with me I pay them on time. Most times I use my money to settle those due for payment pending when the others will pay back. I don’t joke with anybody’s money. That has attracted many people, both civil servants and business people to me; and I have a large clientele.
Every business has its ups and downs but my major challenge is when people don’t pay on time and the person due for payment needs his money. That is a serious challenge because most times some will be interested in joining the adashe but they don’t have any business, and they will beg you to give them first so that they can start a business. When you give the money they end up furnishing their rooms with the money. Others when they collect their own they will refuse to pay for others and it creates a problem for me. It is a very risky business because somebody will not give you money but will insist he has given you, and if you don’t have any record you will bear the loss. Many people are scared of venturing into adashe. I know of people who have left town because they have not been able to meet up. Another thing is some people will deliberately refuse to pay, and you will have to keep sending messages and calling before they respond.
SECRET OF YOUR SUCCESS
The secret of my success is Allah (SAW) for his guidance and protection. Secondly I ensure that you are gainfully employed before I allow you to join us. That way if you are not able to pay on time I am assured I can recoup my money. Since I started eight years ago, I can say I have never owed anybody. I have clients outside Bauchi who have relatives here and so far are happy with how I handle things.
MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT
It was when I gave birth to my daughter
What I dread the most is people who don’t live up to their own end of their bargain. Once I notice that I won’t allow you into the next saving plan.
I like cooking.
YOUR FUTURE PROJECTION
My projection for this business is to see that I open an account as keeping the money at home is very risky. I have clients who saved for a year, and that is a lot of money for me to keep at home. So I will really love to have a bank account and also to be literate. I have started an adult education in our Islamiyya school where we are taught basic education.
My advice to those who want to venture into thrift collection is that they must see it as a service to humanity. They must be willing to invest their own money and resources and help others because adashe is a viable business just like any other businesses. It requires capital. You must be involved in the process and be careful when bringing investors so that there won’t be crisis.
HOW DO YOU BALANCE BUSINESS AND FAMILY LIFE
I balance it well. I am a house wife, there is no conflict of interest in my business and family life. If there is any money to be given or collected, even if I am cooking it is just to excuse myself for a few minutes to collect and record. If it is a man I go outside the gate and attend to him if it’s a woman she enters the house, at other times I send my children to collect it for me. I must appreciate my husband for giving me the free hand to develop myself.
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