The Power of Gratitude

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Emmaculate Ochieng was born on June 26th, 1994 as the first born in a family of 4. She had a good childhood and started school in 1998 where she attended St Augustine Primary School. Unfortunately, she was quickly forced to build her resilience as she had to walk 2k every morning and evening to school as her family could not pay to provide transportation.

Her studies continued to get progressively more difficult as she entered high school. Another burden was that she often lacked school fees which meant that for periods of time she was unable to return to school.

After high school, she became a hawker just to earn enough money for both survival and to save a little to attend college in the future. While this wasn’t an easy season of life for Emmaculate, it did bring her to where she is now.

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With the help of Zidisha lenders, Emmaculate now runs a bookshop where she sells stationery and offers computer services such as typesetting and photocopying. She shares, ‘These goods and services are  essential and therefore they are highly in demand due to the population within the area.’

Emmaculate chose this particular business because in her town there are not any shops that provide parents, schools, and learners with the necessary materials and equipment that they need. She continues, ‘Therefore I decided to take this great opportunity to offer goods and computer services to customers. My daily costs and revenue are estimated at USD 120 dollars per month. Mostly I make a profit of USD 10. Out of this 50% usually goes for food, rent and other basic needs.’

So far, she has been able to raise 4 Zidisha funded loans ranging from $57 to $285. With her first loan of $57 in November 2017, she purchased HB pencils, costing her $1 for one dozen, and then re-selling them for $0.25 each.

Shortly thereafter, she acquired her next loan of $91 in January 2018. As students prepared to go back to school she used her loan to purchase exercise books and Biro pens, allowing her to expand her inventory. She shares these words with lenders, ‘This is going to change my life as I will be able to take care of my daughter.’ She explains that her daughter is in the middle class and with the success of her business she will now be able to pay her school fees comfortably, unlike in previous years.

With her third loan of $137 in March 2018, she purchased 2 cartons of A4 exercise books to keep up with the demand from students. She also expanded her inventory of Biro pens and shared, ‘these goods will help take care of my family, expand my business and pay back the loan since I will be expecting to increase my profit from 15 dollars to 25 dollars.’

Most recently in May 2018, Emmaculate raised her largest loan yet, $285. This loan allowed her to stay consistent with the same products that she’s been selling, but by increasing her quantities and stock, she was able to consistently increase her profits.

On May 30, 2018, she shared this inspiring update with her lenders, ‘Am going to use my loan to purchase cartons of exercise books and since am targeting to supply in a school it’s going to help me increase my sales and improve my living standards. Thank you my dear lenders, I have never lost hope since you gave me this chance from the start and here you prove to me again, once more I do appreciate.’

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Sharing this beautiful quote with the Zidisha community, Emmaculate writes, “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and ordinary opportunities into blessings.”

Would you like to help support a borrower like Emmaculate? Make sure to head on over to our Lend page to read dozens of inspiring stories of other entrepreneurs.

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