MALAYSIA - Until a year ago, Rustiah Nambi often had to borrow money from her family and friends just to put food on the table.
Her husband, a driver, earned about RM1,000 (S$389) each month, and it was always a long wait for the end of the month until the next paycheck.
Today, Rustiah has opened her own beauty parlour, sometimes earning up to RM3,000 a month.
She can now buy better food and clothes for her 12-year-old son, and that, she said, made all the hard work worth it.
"It was very difficult. If we needed to buy something, we would have to wait till the next pay came in. Sometimes, when finances were very tight, we would even have to borrow just to buy food.
"Today, is different. We do not have a lot of money, but things are much better than before," said the 34-year-old from Kudat.
Her beauty parlour, RR Beauty House is located in Donggongon Square, in Penampang, Sabah.
Rustiah had always been a housewife until she was offered the opportunity to participate in a beauty and hairstyling course called Andaman Pengantin under the Goverment's 1AZAM programme in 2011.
"Before the course, I never really was interested in make-up. Only during the two-week course I became interested in it.
"The organisers of the course even said I had potential to do well in the business, and asked me to come back for an advanced course," she said.
Rustiah took up the offer and attended the one-year course, during which she learnt, in more detail, the skills and techniques of running her own business in beauty and hairstyling.
The determined woman then started providing this service to her friends and family and began saving money to start up her own business.
She began doing make-up for weddings and dinner receptions, getting orders for between three and four events in a week.
"I opened my beauty parlour in March last year. It is a small shop and rental costs RM1,000.
"The orders are seasonal, so the income is not fixed, but some months I can make up to RM3000," she said.