Lazare Tougma, an Emergence beneficiary in Burkina Faso
Lazare Tougma is accompanied by Emergence, Entrepreneurs du Monde’s microfinance program in Burkina Faso. He testifies.
My loan meant that I could restart my business
My name is Lazare Tougma. I stopped attending school in year CM2 (final year of primary school) because my parents could no longer afford to pay for my schooling. My father suggested that I go into gardening, but that didn’t interest me, so I escaped to my uncle’s in Ouagadougou so I could learn carpentry. Unfortunately, when I got there, I couldn’t find any carpentry training. My uncle, however, knew a clothier who offered to teach me, and I enjoyed it from the outset. I was an apprentice for six years, with difficult living conditions: I slept in my workshop, and only had 50 CFA francs to buy food at lunchtime, and 50 CFA francs in the evening.
Today, I am proud to say that I have my own shop, selling ready-made clothes, and I have 3 employees and several apprentices. My clients call me a ‘New Creation’, due to my enthusiasm and creativity!
Two of my children have learnt to make clothes and are doing well; I’m happy that they share my passion. EMERGENCE* provides me with useful training, which helps me better manage my client relationships and my takings and outgoings. Their support manager regularly comes to see me in my workshop, and gives me good advice.
During COVID-19, my business took a hit. People were afraid to go out, so I lost all of my clients. My apprentices also left because I couldn’t even afford to pay them anymore. I was distraught. When I heard that the State had started ordering masks, I dived in, and I have been really helped by this market opportunity. EMERGENCE also supported me during this complex period, and granted me a loan which enabled me to restart my business.
These days, things are no longer so difficult. I have bought a plot of land and I want to start building a house for my family, or which can be rented out. I also want to start selling my clothes outside of the local community.
*EMERGENCE: a programme created and incubated by Entrepreneurs du Monde in Burkina Faso, which helps young people and women in particular to find long-term employment or create a business that generates wealth and jobs.