Having a job makes all the difference

19 December 2022
Interview with Sarah Adiyo, market retailer, Juba, South Sudan

Trade Forum talked with Sarah Adiyo from Juba County in South Sudan. Driven by her urge to be independent, the 25-year-old retailer is working hard to educating herself and becoming a successful business woman. Her resilience and strength are remarkable, despite the challenges she has been facing. She shared her hopes with Evelyn Seltier below.

Sarah, you are selling fruits and vegetables at Gumbo market. How is this working for you?

Being a retailer is a great opportunity for me to earn money and sustain myself and my family. I also prepare juices. I bring my blender and if my customers prefer, I sell freshly squeezed juices to them.

It is not easy as a young woman, because I only get to sell at night. During the day I study public administration through an online course, which will finish in 2024. My family was also hesitant for me to even start working, as young girls are supposed to stay home in my country.

Sarah Adiyo Juba South Sudan
Sarah Adiyo Juba South Sudan

Why did they agree?

They saw we needed money, also to pay for my school fees. I support my family with the money I earn, so my brothers were supportive of me starting a business.

My mother is a farmer, we were six children, three have passed away. My family has gone through a lot. I hope that with my degree I will be able to help them more. I am also taking care of my brother’s kids as he is a soldier. I pay for the school fees of all five children and look after them.

If you could change something, what would that be?

Right now, I operate by the roadside, which is not a great location. The umbrellas are not reliable when there is sudden rain.

A shelter would protect me from the weather and offer storage – a fridge would help too, because when I have juices left over, they wouldn’t spoil. A shelter might also help me in creating a safe space from the harassment of men.

Sarah Adiyo Juba County South Sudan
Sarah Adiyo Juba County South Sudan

What are your plans?

I would like to see how I can grow my business. Moving from blender to glass, from retailing to being a producer. I also would like to learn more on how to make savings. I have done a training on record-keeping, but I am not sure I understand how savings work.

Once I have my degree, I really hope I can open my own business and hire other young people to help them get on their own feet too.

Sarah Adiyo is part of the International Trade Centre’s Jobs Creation and Trade Development Project in South Sudan, which focuses on the economic empowerment of women and youth. Sarah has benefited through participating at a mini trade fair and connecting to potential buyers through business-to-business (B2B) meetings.

Moreover, the project provided Sarah with crates that help her with handling, storage and transportation of her fruit and vegetable produce. ITC continues building Sarah’s skills and that of hundreds of other young participants in this project.