24th September 2023
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Meet Sarah Martin, the architect of Juba’s booming cooky business

Author: Kafuki Jada | Published: Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Businesswoman Sarah Woman speaks to Kafuki Jada in Juba. (Photo: Awan Moses).

After her husband quit 13 years ago, Sarah Martin Lojang ventured into cooky selling – and has since become one of the first women in Juba to pioneer the seasonal enterprise that has now attracted thousands of entrepreneurs.

The single mother said she started the cooking the cookies, locally known as Kabis in 2008.

She said her husband ran away from responsibilities after realizing that she was pregnant.

“I started this business when I was pregnant in 2008 and I gave birth, but unfortunately I married someone was not responsible,” Sarah said. 

“He left me and life was hard, so I started making this biscuits I started small I used to sell this biscuits in Custom market.”

Cooky or Kabis is a form of biscuit baked from wheat flour (azam), milk, oil, sugar and a pinch of salt, but it could vary depending on the preference.

It is normally made at homes during the Christmas and New Year season.

However, Sarah took advantage of the annual festivals to turn a domestically-cooked breakfast meal into a thriving business.

She currently sells the cookies in streets around Gudele-Lou area.

According to her, the highest profit comes between the 15th of December to 24th Sarah, where she continues to displays her Christmas cakes/biscuits around the Gudele street.

“I have my tea place in Rock city next to Jebel Lounge, and this bakery opened in 2009, and am the first person who started the business of selling cakes/kabis, and you can confirm from this bakery here in Lou.”

Speaking to Eye Radio on Christmas Eve, Sarah appealed to women to work hard and be financially independent.

“I love this business and I am not lazy. I started working with him during Christmas in 2009 up to today, and I don’t want anybody to be lazy. Everybody has to depend on themselves,’ she said.

Sarah says she is glad more women have taken up on her idea in Juba and are working hard to be financially secure and business minded.

“My Kabis doesn’t reach 25th December every year by 24th of December  its usually all sold out but this year am not sure because of the economically crisis, but I still have faith by the end of Christmas, people would have bought this biscuits.”

But Sarah’s cooky business is under threat from the impact of the fluctuating market prices and the inflation.

“The problem is those buckets for selling the cookies are expensive. The buckets are up to  20,000 SSP and the bakery charges 1,000 SSP per trey, and the flour, a whole sack used to be for 30,000 SSP now its 40,000 SSP,” she decried.

“Oil now is 25,000 SSP, but we put our trust on God through this. In God’s willing, we will have customers,” she said, adding that the rate of buying has been slow this year.

Sarah further urged women not to stay at home as housewives, “because times have changed there are many financial challenges.”

“Most of the time you find women staying at home with no work. My message, please stop staying at home with no work even if your husband is paying for everything at home.”

“Try to work and have money of your own. You never know what can happen in the future maybe your husband will run out of money you can be of help him.”

“Look at us. We are selling things on the street we are trusting in God. Am sure if women start working and becoming entrepreneurs, there will be no difference between a man and a woman.”

Thousands of women have joined the cooky selling in the streets of Juba – some doing it for their family survival, while others have turned it into a profitable business. 


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