By Michael Gwarisa
AT a time when unemployment has reached ridiculously lugubrious levels in Zimbabwe, young people across all sectors have devised strategies to hedge themselves from the prevailing economic catastrophe.
Some youths have turned to vending, while others have opened small businesses just to get the day going. The weaker ones who can’t stand the heat have gone into some dangerous trades like crime and prostitution in a bid to survive the murky economic woes bedeviling the country.
In the midst of all these entrepreneurs is one Fortunate Njenjera, a young lady in her late 30s who has managed to turn what some might describe as the most repulsive trade of Collecting Used Sanitary Pads from companies, schools and other organisation into a life changing venture.
Even though the business is not yet that profitable, she believes with proper support, she might fly high and become one of Zimbabwe’s renowned business people.
In an exclusive interview with HealthTimes News, Fortunate said the prevailing economic hardships forced her to think outside the box and do the unimaginable.
“This was something i have always wanted since i was 12 years due to what happened to a certain lady from my village however I would say economic hardships was the major driver behind this venture. I also get some inspiration from my lady friend Enia Chari.
“We have been doing this for the past eight years now, having Tobacco Processors Zimbabwe, SIRDC, Truworths (Pvt) Ltd to mention a few as our biggest clients,” said Fortunate.
The venture was started in May of 2009 at a time when Zimbabwe adopted the multicurrency system.
“I had seen that a conducive and sympathetic working environment will enhance workers morale, attendance and confidence.
“Productivity would generally improve when the needs of women in the work place were catered for. The dream came true with the help of friends whom i greatly appreciate. It all started with a single bin till we are where we are now.”
She however hinted that her major setback in business was inadequate machinery to get the job done.
“We cannot say the venture is generating much revenue as all that we get covers the cost for collecting and disposal of the waste. From clients we collect once a week, some twice and some everyday depending on the number of ladies in a company.
“Our major challenge is of machinery, in this case we need an incinerator as we are currently outsourcing and its very expensive to the extent that we don’t even realise any profit as everything goes to paying the hiring costs. We used to hire an incinerator from the City of Harare but it broke down now so we are hiring a company with an incinerator to do the disposing for us. We surely do need an incinerator like yesterday,” said Fortunate.
Meanwhile, Fortunate said she intends to grow her business into becoming the most preferred service provider for sanitary disposal services and other hygiene products and services.
“Very soon, we will be moving into offering incinerating services for those health centres that do not have incinerators so as to create a healthy and clean environment,” she said.
She also encouraged young Zimbabweans to pursue their dreams and start some live changing initiatives.
“Be a goal getter, always remember perseverance, persistence and patience should be the tools you need with you.
“Don’t be afraid of anything out there, the jungle has everything in it, elephants, these are giants, if you are not careful you would think there is nothing left for you to feed on. There are hyenas to put fear in you such that you forget the reason why you had gone hunting. Lions as they roar, fear and terror will be with you, even when you are home you wouldn’t want to hear about the jungle anymore and the Pangolins the most tender and nice meat, only kings would eat on their table but it takes hard work and sweat for you to find them.
“Nothing will come on a silver platter.”