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Greetings lenders! My name is Neil DiMuccio, and I am a Client Relationship Manager with Zidisha in Kenya.

I recently had the opportunity to meet with Ann and her lovely family a few times at her shop (pictured in her profile) in Nakuru. Ann’s husband William was kind enough to host me in the shop for over an hour, while Ann left to sell mangoes in the market, which is a new source of income for this family. Also present was their firstborn son Isaac, who is 18 and just finishing his secondary (high school) studies. William explained that the family clothing shop had been in operation for 20 years, and in its current location for about 4 years. He also explained that the shop had been facing difficulties of late, not bringing in the level of money the family might want. The family made a significant investment in Isaac, educating him in a private school and teaching him the fundamentals of Computer Science. He hopes to go to Nairobi and further his Comp Sci studies at a University later this year. Asked if a high-tech job in Nairobi’s booming IT sector was his dream job, Isaac said that actually becoming a pilot would be his dream come true. But on a more pragmatic level, he acknowledged that becoming a commercial airline pilot was exceptionally expensive and difficult in Kenya, and that computer work was an excellent alternative that he'd pursue.

At Zidisha, we believe in supporting Zidisha borrowers. This means maintaining a friendly and professional tone at all times. This is especially important for borrowers such as Ms. Wangui and her family, who find themselves in arrears due to financial stress. One might expect these borrowers to be cautious, or even evasive in communicating with Zidisha, but this is not the case at all! In fact, they welcome us into their homes and businesses as warmly as anyone else (and in Kenya, people are exceptionally welcoming). From there, Zidisha staff give them the opportunity to explain their circumstances at their own level of comfort and safety. We do not believe that following the traditional path of being demanding or prying (practices that might be common in Western culture or other local microfinance operations) is conducive to a productive relationship. I think this process is laudable on both ends, and takes trust and empathy to a whole new level.

William mentioned that now that Isaac is in University, they should face lower costs, as the government offers financial assistance for University study, but not for secondary. He is also hopeful that the clothing business will turn up, and that the extra income from selling mangoes will help the family to begin making repayments again.

Lastly, the recent election had most Kenyan shops closed for a week or more, as people decided to be cautious and watch election results from home in case of rioting or looting. Luckily, peace has prevailed so far, but the delay has been difficult for the economy.

Let’s applaud the family for working hard, making wise investments for the future, and for committing to the Zidisha community!

ann wangui   Sep 17, 2012

Hi zidisha team and lenders.
I sincerely regret that i have not been able to live up to my commitment in servicing my loan. My business is fully stocked but sales have seriously reduced over the last two months. I had to join my other siblings in contributing towards my mothers medical bill. My rural home is a bit far from where my business is so sometimes i was forced to close business and travel to Kerugoya, my home town to attend to my mother. That not withstanding, my obligation to zidisha can not be more firm. Am requesting that i be allowed two more months ie up to 29/11/2012 to completely clear the outstanding balance. Am currently pursing a market out of nakuru town that is turning out well. Am very sorry to my lenders and thankful to them for bearing with me.
Yours,
wangui.

Hello lenders,

My name is Vivien Barbier and I’m a client relationship interns for Zidisha in Kenya. Today I visited Mrs Ann Wangui and her husband in their boutique.

Mrs Wangui is running a shop in Nakuru’s market that sells second hand men suits. Every suit is in a very good state so it is hard to see that there are second hand. Before joining Zidisha, Mrs Wangui was client of other organizations that provided loans, but the interest rates were to high for her to make enough profit to grow the business. In addition to repay the debt, Mrs Wangui has to pay for the schools fees of her three children. Two of them are in high school and her youngest son is still at primary school. She told me that thanks to Zidisha and the low interest rate loan, the business is now much more profitable. Mrs Wangui also expects that her older son will be accepted to the university. In this case, the government will pay for his education. Mrs Wangui and her husband are putting a lot of effort to ensure the success of their children.

The last few months have been a rough time for their family, Mrs Wangui sister get very sick. Mrs Wangui had to pay for the important medical fees; this prevented her to pay back the loan during a few months. Fortunately, things are better now, her sister is doing well and Mrs Wangui can focus again on running her business. She also explained me that during the last month, the business was not great in the whole region. July and August are usually bad months for business and things improve in September. This is not the first time I hear that in the area; the other day, a farmer explained me that this was because the harvest period that only starts in September.

Mrs Wangui plans for the future is to buy at least one new full suit to expend her product line. With second hand suits it is impossible to have a pants and a jacket from the same fabric and color. New suits can be sold for 30 000 KES ($350) so the profit that she can expect will be much bigger than for second hand suits.

I lost the count of the number of time she said “Thank you” to the Zidisha community for having helped her when she needed it. She also told me that I should come back next year to visit her shop again and that I will be amazed by the change that I will see then.

Vivien BARBIER
8th August 2012
Nakuru, Kenya

ann wangui   Oct 01, 2011

May God bless all those who bidded for my loan request. Am doing well and will keep you posted on my progress.

ann wangui   Sep 24, 2011

Am glad for what have been raised so far but am at the same time worried about what might happen if the whole amount will not be raised by tomorrow, the day the bids are to be closed. Am however optimistic that is someone out there who will save the situation. Its you and may God bless you.

ann wangui   Sep 16, 2011

I most sincerely thank you caseysampsom and Tmdunn for your bids. Generally things are ok in my business and my family. Am sure you have good friends who would want to be partners in assisting my business. Tell them i will not let all of you down in terms of using the money.I welcome them. Otherwise God bless you.

ann wangui   Sep 11, 2011

I most sincerely appreciate those who have so far stood with me and believe more will be joining in to make my dream a reality. We are currently experiencing exceptionally high rain that some of my customers are anable to access town. But I am pressing on.

ann wangui   Sep 07, 2011

Dianne, God bless you. Am still working had such that the loan finds me in the right footing when its finally wired to me.

ann wangui   Sep 03, 2011

Eduardo and gt9998, i consider myself blessed to have partners like you. Thank you for your contribution.

ann wangui   Aug 30, 2011

Hi Delph007 and LaurenR. Thank you for identifying yourselves with my aspirations. God bless.

ann wangui   Aug 29, 2011

snick,errol,monroe and walters you are all awesome. God bless

Repayment Schedule Changes

ann wangui   Sep 21, 2012

Due to challenge of business, I would request for a grace period in order to organize myself. Since my mom got sick, I spent my money, but I thank God that she is now okay. Within three months, you give out school fees and other challenges because they are there, eating, and other expenses. There are still challenges, since those who we give our items, they don't turn up. It is also a challenge.

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