Suleiman Muhammad, a cripple resident in Kinkinau community in Kaduna South, ventured into shoemaking three years ago and, despite being physically challenged, the young man who in his early 20s has carved a niche for himself through hard work and perseverance.
With proceeds he made from shoemaking, Suleiman has expanded his business including buying a container that now serves as his shop. “I bought a motorcycle that I use to move around and I take care of my needs without having to rely on anyone,” he said.
- 23,000 vulnerable women, youths to get jobs in Kaduna
- Woman arrested in Kaduna for aborting, burying own fetus
Suleiman, whose legs are bent forward and drags his feet to walk, said he developed the unknown condition sometime in 2004 after he ingested herbal syrup to treat an undisclosed ailment.
Arewa Trust Weekly gathered that the secondary school drop-out now makes high-quality leather slippers which attract many to his shop. “I dropped out in S.S 3 because my parents could not afford to pay my Senior School Certificate Examinations fees and so my mum advised me to take up handwork so I wouldn’t have to rely on others. Due to my condition, she thought shoe-making would be easy for me,” he said.
Though Suleiman said he had objected at first, and wanted to venture into tailoring, his mother had convinced him to go into shoe-making which he now says he is grateful he obeyed her directive.
He recalled that starting the business was not easy, and that he had to rely on friends and family members who ordered shoes from him even when he was in the process of learning.
“My friends were my first customers and they encouraged me by asking me to make shoes for them. They know I am the hardworking type. Even though I was still learning, what I did was satisfactory,” he said.
With the little profit he made from the encouragement of his friends, the young entrepreneur said he bought the needed materials for his business including a filing machine.
Looking back, he said, “my condition is not a barrier as I make beautiful shoes. I also sell phone accessories like phone chargers and earpiece and I have an apprentice under me learning the work.”
Suleiman, however, said inadequate power supply continues to serve as a major challenge as he is yet to get a generator and the necessary funds to purchase more machines that will make his work easier.
He is however optimistic of the future as he plans to return to school to study Business Administration.