KUALA TERENGGANU: When Mahani Dagang separated from her husband in 2009, she immediately put her “good hands” to use to bring up her brood of 10 children.

The 44-year-old single mother from Kampung Batin in Seberang Takir underwent a course in traditional massage and now earns between RM2,000 and RM3,000 a month running her own village spa.

“I had no prior experience in giving massages. But it was my mother who pointed out to me that I have good hands. Encouraged by my mother and the single mothers’ association of Terengganu, I went for a two-week traditional massage programme in October 2009.

“Immediately after that, I started my own business by providing house-to-house massage service to village folk,” said Mahani, also fondly known as Kak Mah.

As her reputation as a good masseuse grew, Mahani was able to rent a house for RM150 a month in the village for her business.

“The house was very small and rundown, and my customers had no place to park their car,” she said.

However, with a RM5,000 aid under the Government’s 1Azam programme in late 2011, Mahani shifted her business to larger premises and bought other equipment to offer foot reflexology, facials and sauna.

“I could buy various types of massage oil and traditional medicine. I could also afford to rent a bigger house.

There is now more space for my customers to park their cars,” said Mahani, who now sees three to four clients a day and requires an appointment of at least a week in advance.

“I have to juggle my time between work and looking after my children. I still go home during lunch to cook for them,” said Mahani, whose children are between the ages of four and 21.

Mahani even conducts training for other entrepreneur hopefuls under the East Coast Economic Region’s Empower programme in Terengganu and Kelantan.