From where I stand: “I set up a tourist guest house to support my family”

Saudita Marku, a city girl, looked for new income opportunities to support her family when after marriage she moved to rural village in Albania. She now runs a guest house for tourists, and also a bee-keeping business.


Saudita Marku. Photo: UN Women Albania/Violana Murataj
Saudita Marku. Photo: UN Women Albania/Violana Murataj

Since eight-years old, I worked in my family’s guest house in the city of Puka. I was a city girl and a ski champion. A few years ago I fell in love, got married and moved to a small village in Kryezi, north of Albania. My life changed completely!

Now I have a two-year-old son and I live with my husband and my mother-in-law. My day begins at 6 a.m. I make the meals for the day, do the housework and then go work in the fields until six in the evening. Being a city girl, I was not used to farming and I found the work difficult. But farming was the only source of income for my husband’s family, and I realized I needed to find additional ways to support us.

Three years ago I started beekeeping. I have 40 bees, and I sell the honey produced in my village. But we still needed more income to make ends meet. Using the knowledge and experience from having worked in my family’s business earlier, I set up two guestrooms near my house. I recently received training from UN Women on how to formalize my business, apply for financial incentives, and develop marketing and business plans. I am a certified tourist guide now and guest house owner.

It’s only been a year, but we’ve already had nearly 15 families stay at our guest house during the summer, and some of them have even returned. As a result, we have improved our family income. I would like to develop my entrepreneurship, marketing and communications skills to grow my business and improve the guest house’s facilities and overall service.

SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth

Saudita Marku, 22, is a beekeeper and certified tourist guide who runs a guesthouse in the village of Kryezi, northern Albania. In 2016, for the first time, more than 150 women from five regions in Albania received training by UN Women, in partnership with the organization, Today for the Future and the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Water Administration, on how to formalize their businesses.  The training was financially supported by the Government of Sweden. Ms. Marku was among them, and her story is related to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8, which promotes inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

Read more stories in the “From where I stand...” editorial series.