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Meet Murjanatu Saulawa, mother of 3 excelling in shoemaking

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A Katsina-based entrepreneur, Murjanatu Yusuf Saulawa, has not only ventured into what is considered a male-dominated craft, but is making a success of it.

She embraced shoemaking business as a means of  generating funds, which she has dedicated to supporting orphans and children from poor family backgrounds.

The young entrepreneur, who has been in the business for over a decade, decided to make a difference by choosing a trade in which, in a conservative society like Katsina, you will not find someone like her; a woman.

According to her, the decision to engage in the shoemaking business was borne out of her passion to support orphaned children and those from less-privileged families, to give them a sense of belonging and a better life.

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Murjanatu, realizing that female children are the most vulnerable in society, is giving that gender a priority.

“I came to understand that even among the orphans and children from disadvantaged families, the females among them are the most vulnerable, hence the need to embark on a mission to change the narrative. As the saying goes, better to teach a person how to catch a fish than give him fish. I think that is what I am doing in my own little way,” she said.

The 30-year-old graduate of health technology and mother of three is also engaged in other businesses such as the making of cream, air freshener and shampoo.

Speaking with our reporter, she said she hopes to bequeath a worthy legacy to the younger generation.

“In this world today, people only talk about how to get money. If you’re in a business, you always want to count profit, but in my own case, besides making profit, I still want to contribute to efforts aimed at removing my people from abject poverty. Of these young trainees, there are about seven from the banditry-ravaged communities, who were displaced from Batsari and Jibia LGAs. They need these skills to support themselves and their families at least,” she said.

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During a visit to her workshop, this reporter met 25 young girls, mostly orphans and children from disadvantaged families receiving training on shoemaking, cream and air freshener.

Murjanatu Saulawa said the world is dynamic and changing, with a lot of fascinating passions and the earlier the society, especially women, seek proper means to tackle the challenges, the better.

While speaking on her experience thus far in the shoemaking business, considering its numerous challenges, she said, “My late father always said it’s not about how much you have, but how much you can contribute to make others happy.

“Yes, I am into this business, not only to support myself but also to accomplish my father’s dream of having more married women who are self-reliant. By doing so, you can significantly reduce poverty. He always prayed and wished that I would be the one to accomplish it.”

At the moment, Murjanatu’s training centre has over 200 girls receiving training on shoemaking and other skills. Over 1,000 have graduated from the centre since its inception in 2017.

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“In my case, I don’t rely on any support because when you’re in a business, you should not think that you would get support from anyone. But I think it is always good to support initiatives that are people-oriented,” she added.

She called on government and other relevant authorities to give greater emphasis to skills acquisition, especially for women, saying it is the fastest way to pull people out of poverty and rejuvenate the nation’s economy.

“For me, the best way to support people is through the businesses they do. For instance, if the government can buy whatever products we produce, that will go a long way in motivating many businesses, not just giving money where it would not add any value,” she said.

Products from the centre are sold in Katsina and other neighbouring states as well as in Niger Republic.

Besides this, the shoemaking industry has a number of young people serving as traders and distributors, delivering its products to prospective customers in some other northern states.

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The young trainees said Murjanatu Saulawa is not only a role model, but a mother who has been mentoring them to live a better life, adding that the trade they learn from her will remain her legacy long after.

Rukayya Sani and Hafsat Muhammad said the skills they have learnt from her mean everything to them.

“This is all about destiny, because I never thought of learning any trade, handcraft or business. My dream was to complete my education and get employed as a civil servant, but as God will have it, this is His best choice for me,” said Rukayya Sani.

For Hafsat Muhammad, who is graduating very soon after completing her eight months of training, this is the best thing to have happened to her family. She said, “I now make shoes, liquid soap, air fresheners and lots of other things through which I support my younger ones.”

Saulawa attended the Gidado Primary School, Katsina and Women Arabic Teachers College, Dutsin-Ma before gaining admission into the School of Health Technology, Daura, where she specialised in community health.

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Source link: Daily Trust/

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