As twilight fell in the central Tanzanian village, family and friends gathered to pay their respects to Patricia Ngwada’s late mother. As it grew dark, Patricia turned on the solar lamp she had purchased for her mother a few years earlier. After the funeral, everyone wanted to know about the solar lamp and where they could get one.
Patricia purchased the lamp from one of her relatives, a Solar Sister Entrepreneur. After the questions about the lamp, she contacted the relative and joined Solar Sister.
“I enjoy working with Solar Sister because the products are durable and efficient. It’s not easy to find products as durable as these. In my village, everyone loves Solar Sister lanterns.”
Patricia’s husband died in 1995. She raised her three children and helps with her three grandchildren. Now 58, Patricia has made sure that those grandchildren have solar lights for studying.
With her additional income, Patricia has increased her farm’s yield with her maize and sunflower crops. She has renovated her kitchen, putting in cabinets and buying new bedroom furniture for her children and grandchildren. Previously, they were sleeping on the floor.
In addition to her work as a Solar Sister Entrepreneur, Patricia continues her tailoring business, making school uniforms, dresses, and shirts, as she has done for years.
She is proud that her firstborn, a son, is now a teacher.
Using WhatsApp to market her products, Patricia uses her smartphone to send pictures to customers. They can order via the phone. Because transportation to other villages can be expensive and time-consuming, using the phone for marketing and ordering really helps keep costs down, so her business is more efficient.
“I love using my phone for business. I take pictures of my products to show potential customers. This helps because I cannot take all the products with me when I visit the market and communities.”