Hanifah grew up in Kampala, the capital city of a country where 10 million people live below the poverty line and most families struggle to send their children to secondary school. Hanifah’s family was lucky: Her father ran a tailoring business that employed more than 20 people and generated enough profit to pay school fees for all of his children. He taught his children to work hard to achieve their goals, and Hanifah learned to work as a tailor in the family business.
Hanifah was 16 when her father died unexpectedly and the business crumbled rapidly. Shortly thereafter, Hanifah became very ill and the family’s savings were decimated by medical bills, leaving them deeply in debt and unable to support the remainder of Hanifah’s education after she recovered.
Hanifah could not have imagined then that she would soon become a successful and self-sufficient entrepreneur. Today, she pays her own way through university by running her very own tailoring business. Hanifah was able to return to secondary school on a scholarship and, as an Educate! Scholar, she launched a business sewing uniforms for local schools, selling around 200 uniforms in her first year for a profit of 200,000 Ugandan Shillings (about 80 US Dollars). This year, she expects to sew close to 2,000! Hanifah also expanded her business, hiring a full-time employee to sew cloth bags and children’s clothes, which she sells at a local market.
At just 20 years old, Hanifah already embodies Educate!’s exponential empowerment model. She uses a portion of her income to purchase materials and train community members to make liquid soap -- a skill she learned as an Educate! Scholar -- resulting in at least one new liquid soap business in her community! Hanifah named her business RENDAH, an acronym for the people who have helped and supported her to get to where she is today, and the “E” in RENDAH stands for Educate!. Hanifah credits Educate! with giving her the tools to run her business, including helping her become more confident and resourceful and learn to effectively communicate her needs -- skills that she knows can be especially challenging for girls to develop.