March 27, 2017

Big Dreams for Little Children

Big Dreams for Little Children

Many FINCA clients’ determination to follow their dreams knows no bounds. Esther Binagi is one such enterprising woman. A long-time teacher in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania since 1983, Esther has dedicated her life to educating young children.

Esther longed to start her own school. She slowly saved her money from teaching and by 1997, purchased a small piece of land using her savings. While teaching nursery school at her own home, she began to build a small school on the land. Years later, the new school building was ready! Esther’s school could hold 84 students in 4 classrooms the first year the school opened. By the second year, she doubled the number of classrooms.

As more and more students flocked to Esther’s school, she realized she needed more facilities to accommodate the children’s educational needs. In 2014, Esther learned about FINCA’s SME loans, which help growing small or medium-sized businesses gain access to needed capital. With a loan of TZS 90 million (USD $40,000), Esther built new facilities, such as dormitories and a laboratory. With a subsequent FINCA loan, Esther added another laboratory, a computer room and a school hall for meetings and examinations.

Esther’s devotion to education and her ability to successfully grow her school has not gone unnoticed. In 2016, she won as overall winner of the Citi Microentreprenurship Award in Tanzania, which recognizes the achievements of outstanding microentrepreneurs.

But Esther hasn’t finished dreaming. She hopes to add A-level secondary classes someday, an important goal in a country where secondary school enrollment is markedly lower (46%) than primary school enrollment (93%).