Dina Bogohei makes rainbows in her backyard. Not technically, of course. Technically, what she makes are hand-dyed batik fabrics. But to come across the bolts of dyed cloth in vivid yellows, purples, reds, blues and greens that hang drying in her dusty courtyard, one might be forgiven for thinking so.
A solidarity-loan client of Accion partner Akiba Commercial Bank in Mbagala Mtongani, Tanzania – part of greater Dar es Salaam – Dina joined with friends two years ago to borrow money from the bank. She started making batiks more than 20 years ago one at a time from order to order, but the loan from Akiba allowed her to buy cloth and dyes in bulk so she could improve production and increase her profit margin. She now creates as many as 200 to 300 batiks each day. These she sells to wholesalers for approximately TZS 12,000 ($7.25) each, who in turn sell them in various Dar markets.
Widow, mother of eight (with two sets of twins!) and entrepreneur, Dina Bogohei works six days a week and employs no fewer than six people to help her with her business – a business she plans to expand as she continues to partner with Akiba. She says her next investment will be a sewing machine, so she can make blouses and skirts from the colorful batiks. And those profits, she reports, will help fill the pot at the end of her rainbow and pay for her children’s education.