JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN —
South Sudan marked International Women's Day by celebrating some of its success stories, including restaurant-owner Martha Mary Michael.
The widowed mother-of-five worked for the government for four years, but could barely feed her family on the salary she made.
So she left her government job and started a business, beginning small and gradually working her way up the entrepreneurial food chain.
At first, she made porridge, which she sold door-to-door in the searing heat of Juba.
"I took leave without pay from the government and then I told them I am going to [sell] ...along the streets so that I can sponsor my children to go to school,” she said.
She saved the income from those early sales and used it as start-up capital to open a restaurant at the Central Equatoria state Ministry of Education.
Today, she runs a popular restaurant at the Souk Libya trading center outside Juba. Wtih the money she made from that venture, she has opened another restaurant in October in the center of town.
"I faced a lot of challenges because I don’t have capital, but cooking? I can cook," she said.
And her motivation, to provide her five children with an education, has paid off, with one of her daughters a recent graduate in civil aviation from a college in Khartoum.