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Salma Goes into Business / Radio Scripts / Farm Radio International

Package 57, Script 2
October 2000

Salma Goes into Business

Main message of this broadcast:

Women are good business managers. Women are innovative and they have good business ideas. Please adapt this script by using local words and expressions that will be familiar to your audience.

Narrator: Host of radio program.
Salma: 30 years old, mother of five children.
Nasreen: Salma’s 12-year-old daughter.
Kamal: Salma’s husband.

Nasreen: (UPSET) Mother! Come quickly!  The police were here. They’ve taken Father away.

Salma: What?!  Nasreen, calm down and tell me what is this nonsense?

Nasreen: (CRYING) I saw it myself in the village. Father and two other men were taken by the police. The police say Father was smuggling illegal goods in the northern province.

Salma: (SOUNDS UPSET) Oh no, Nasreen — is it true?  That was my worst fear. Your father was always buying cigarettes and beer and I didn’t know where he was getting the money. But he was also paying your school fees. We cannot survive on the money I make at the market.  What will I do?


Narrator: The one thing that Salma could not do was get her husband Kamal out of jail. Kamal had confessed to the police that he had been smuggling for the last two years. He would be in jail for a long time.

The jail was a long way from the village. Because she could not make the journey to visit her husband,  Salma wrote letters. In her letters she described life at home and her plans to start a small business. For the next few minutes I am going to read to you some of the letters that Salma wrote to Kamal.

Voice of Salma:
Dear Kamal,

It is hard to believe that you have been in jail for two months. This is a difficult time for me and the children. There is only a small amount of money left from the tea harvest and the sweet potatoes that I am selling.

I do not have enough money to pay the school fees. Although you and I have not agreed on much in our married life, I think we agree that our children should get a good education.

There is something I must ask you. I know that your brother Sunil visited you in jail. I think he still owes you money. Please ask him to pay back the money and bring it to me — we are in great need. I am praying that things will get better.

Your wife,

Narrator: Finally good fortune was with Salma again. Kamal’s brother visited her in the village and he brought the money that he owed to the family.  And it was a good amount of money. The next step was for Salma to decide how she would use the money in the best possible way. She needed to think of a good way to spend the money so that it would bring her more money.

A few weeks later she made her decision.

Voice of Salma:
Dear Kamal,

You’ll never guess what I did with the money your brother brought to us.

I bought a cow! Nasreen and youngest son Isaac cut feed every day. Isaac also brings water for the cow to drink. Isaac seems proud of his responsibility. The cow gives  us 12 bottles of milk every day. I keep two bottles in the house for us to drink. I sell the other 10 bottles. The money from the milk pays for our food.

I am keeping a record book for my milk business. In the book I write down the income from the milk sales. I also write down how much money I spend to care for the cow. This way I will always know how much money I am making. If I am losing money I will have to cut expenses.

You can be proud of your son Isaac. He takes good care of the cow. I think he likes the taste of the milk.

Your wife,

Narrator: As you have heard, Salma was making good money selling the milk from the cow. But she still could not pay the children’s school fees. Perhaps the solution was to start another business. In this next letter you will hear how she decided which new product to sell at the market.

Voice of Salma:
Dear Kamal,

I hope you are feeling better. I know you have been sad and depressed, but don’t worry — everyone is saying that you will be released soon. When you come home you will see that the children and I are doing well.

I started a new business. I am still selling the milk, but I think I should have more than one thing to sell, for times when the cow is not producing any milk. Also, what if something happens to the cow?

I asked myself many questions before I decided on my new business.

I asked myself: Is there anything I know how to make or grow that I can sell?

Well, I know how to grow peanuts. I have been growing them for many years — and I get such good yields. I think it is because of the way I care for the soil.

Next I asked myself: Will the peanuts sell in the market? There is an easy answer to this. Yes! I know that people in the village will buy my peanuts. You will remember that people here say that I grow the most tasty peanuts.

There is one more thing I had to consider. How can I make my peanuts more valuable so people will pay more for them? I decided that people will pay more for my peanuts if I roast them.

So I am selling roasted peanuts!

In a few weeks I will be able to tell you whether or not my new business is successful.


Narrator: Salma’s peanut business was successful. She roasted the peanuts at home and sold them in the market. It did not cost her much to roast the peanuts. And the roasted peanuts were a delicious snack. Many people bought them because they didn’t have time to roast the peanuts themselves.

And there was more good news for Salma. She received a letter from Kamal saying that he would soon be released from jail.


Voice of Kamal:
Dear Salma,

I am coming home. I am so happy that I will be seeing you and the children again. In jail I  had a lot of time to think. I can see now that my way of earning a living — by smuggling — was a mistake.  But please understand that I did it with the best intentions. It was not my idea to make life more difficult for you.

With your new businesses you have showed that it is possible to earn a good living on the farm. I will be getting out of jail soon. When I come home I am willing to work hard to help you with your business.


Narrator: Kamal was released from jail two weeks later. When he arrived home he saw for himself that his wife had built a strong business.  She was making good money selling milk and peanuts, and the children were healthy and doing well at school.  And Kamal kept his word.  He decided to change his ways and stop smuggling. He saw what could be done when you have some good business ideas. He tells all his friends that there is a new Minister of Finance at his home. His wife, Salma!


- END -


  • Contributed by:  Jennifer Pittet, Researcher/Writer, Toronto, Canada.
  • Reviewed by:  Nancy Drost, Gender Specialist, CARE Canada, Ottawa, Canada.

Information Sources

  • Women working wonders: Small-scale farming and the role of women in Vihiga District, Kenya — A case study of North Maragoli, Basilida Anyona Mutoro, 1997, 342 pages. Thesis Publishers, Amsterdam.
  • Young women in enterprise, 1996. Commonwealth Youth Programme Africa Centre, PO Box 30190, Lusaka, Zambia.
  • “Women producing Andean products,” Maria Estrella Canto Sanabria and Maria Sanabria Guerra, Appropriate Technology, Volume 20, Number 2, September 1993. IT Publications Ltd., 103-105 Southampton Row, London WC1B 4HH, UK.
  • The women, gender and development reader, edited by Nalini Visvanathan, 1997. The University Press Ltd., Red Crescent Building, 114 Motijheel C/A, PO Box 2611, Dhaka 1000, Bangladesh.