“I have to step up”


By Nancy Omanwa, Zidisha member in Makongeni, Kenya

I am 20 years old, a continuing student taking a Bachelors degree in Commerce. I am the first born in a family of three. I lost my father 2 years ago when I was just completing my high school and since then life has not been the same for us living with my mother and my two brothers alone. One of my brothers who is the second born aged 16 years suffered from Downs syndrome when young and is now schooling in a special needs institution. The reality in my country is that special needs schools are very expensive and this has been financially and emotionally draining for my mother ever since my father passed on.

As the first born I have to step up and it is this that has driven me to follow my passion by starting a small business to make an extra penny to support the family. Being passionate about fashion, I have now started a small business that sells second hand inner wears mostly for the ladies. I spend a huge time doing the sales whenever am out of class so as to support myself at the University and also support my family…

Currently I sell bras, underwear and other lingeries with the students being my biggest target market. I sell outside in a shade and at times I hawk within the university and this has greatly reduced the operation costs since I do not pay any rent… Last year, i missed a semester due to lack of tuition fees and it is this that made me swear to do all that is humanly possible to support my mother so that I can at least get a tertiary education. I borrowed the start-up capital and started the business that has payed for my fees this semester.

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