April 22, 2024

The Story Of Abdul Samed, A Tamale-based PWD Who Refused To Be Street Beggar But Now Provides For a Family Of Seven, Courtesy His Momo Business

Story : Iddrisu Kumbundoo

It is a common sight in the Northern R1egion to find persons with disabilities on major streets begging for alms. This is so because of the lack of opportunities and jobs.

The very few available jobs are reserved for abled persons and so even as the disables attempt to be hired for the jobs, they are often overlooked and discriminated against.

In Tamale, the regional capital, the menace of Persons With Disabilities begging on the streets have become pervasive that there is the Beggars Hub located right at the heart of the Central Business District.

Like the chicken who goes home to roost after a long day out, the beggars hub serves as home and resting grounds for the mostly wheelchair-bound and visually-impaired beggars after a day out.

Their days usually include dangerously crisscrossing with vehicles on the major highways and at traffic terminals for coins to be tossed into their hands or in small basins held by benevolent motorists.

This is the story of most physically challenged persons in the Metropolis but for Sumani Abdul Samed, a 35 – year – old man who is paralysed from the waist, his story is different as he has chosen to challenge the status quo.

Abdul Samed detest begging and so instead of running the streets to for alms, he has found solace and means of livelihood in the provision of mobile telecommunication services to subscribers of the various telephone networks.

For the clients of other networks, he merely sells recharge cards and does mobile money transactions but for MTN subscribers, his services are more than just selling recharge cards and providing mobile money services. He also sells, does registration of SIM cards and puts subscribers on mobile money services.

While having a conversation with Abdul Samed at his shop located at Vitting, along Tamale-Yendi Highway and some 100 meters on your right from the Plush Gaana Hotel, i cannot help but noticed a litany of customers, most of them illiterate women, troop into his small metal store to buy credit and to ask him to subscribe to data and mashup bundles for them.

Intriguingly, Samed does these extra services without a charge. Apparently, these little actions of his serve as a goodwill to attract more customers to him. Indeed Samed may be able to smile now but his life a decade back was that of misery.

In 2010, Samed had just managed and completed a pre-tertiary program of electronic engineering at Tamale Polytechnic, now Tamale Technical University. By this course, he became a specialist in electronics, meaning he could repair any malfunctioned electronic gadgets including computers, mobile phones, home theaters and television sets.

After completion, Samed’s dream to pursue the course further and at least get a Higher National Diploma was short-lived for the lack of funds. Unable to raise money to buy the tools needed to start his repairer’s job, Samed was home for three years with no job and no means of livelihood.

He describes the period as his most difficult and darkest period as family and friends pressured him to go on the street to beg like others of his caliber are doing but he reneged.

Luckily, in 2013, a friend named Yushawu set up his current business and took Samed as a caretaker before eventually handing over the business to him following his hard work, loyalty and unmatched integrity.

The business started so small with the sale of recharge cards before MTN Ghana found and helped him to secure a business certificate which they used to secure him a merchant Sim Card to start the mobile money business.

Under the agent name Yushaw Construction Limited, he sold recharge cards for various networks and offered only MTN mobile money services for some three years before he was able to raise enough money and acquire merchant SIMS to start cash transactions for subscribers of other networks.

For the role MTN Ghana played in his business, Samed tells me that sometimes he cannot help but feel guilty that he offers services to subscribers of other networks. Asked how much he earns in a month, Abdul Samed declined to mention a specific amount but is quick to point out that his emolument is decent enough to take care of himself, his wife and three children as well as his aged mother and younger sister.

He also revealed that consistently since he started, the commission he is paid by MTN Ghana has never been bettered by the other telecom service providers.From a man who had nothing some ten years back that he could not even afford a smile to a man who now has as much to keep himself and his family comfortable, I asked where he would have been without his mobile agent business.

Samed sighs and the words that followed will melt any heart.

“I probably would have finally succumbed to frustrations and pressure from my close relatives and hit the street to beg,” he said.

My job is not as paying as before but I would rather come and sit in this store and go back home with one cedi than to beg for alms because I am disabled,” he added.

Despite his success, Samed has a challenge of mobility because without a wheelchair of his own, he continues to rely on benevolent individuals with motorbikes to bring him to his shop and to take him home at night.

This means that he sometimes comes to his store late or goes home late.

When the two decade and half story of MTN Ghana is told, people like Sumani Abdul Samed will always feel part of it for his life initially enveloped by darkness and misery has been brightened by the Country’s leading Communication Network.

Abdul Samed knows this fact too well as he reserves the last part of my encounter with him to register his sincere appreciation to his friend who set up the business and to MTN Ghana who helped him acquired a Business Certificate, got him a merchant SIM card and even some seed capital to kickstart his mobile money agent job.

NOTE

This Story was produced by Kumbundoo Iddrisu in 2022 as entry for the MTN Ghana Bright Media Awards.

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