Jul 15, 2015
Adansi Fumso, Ghana
Thank you zidisha.org my business is still growing and am very grateful to you all. I have been able to buy 3 R14 tires and 1 R20 tire. Thank you all.
Jul 14, 2015
Kendu Bay, Kenya
This is to thank the zidisha team, i used the loan to purchase the new fashioned clothes and i was able to purchase them again during the time i was working with the loan i was given.
The loan made me to retain my customers and they really liked my clothes. I was also able to take my firs born daughter to private school where she should get the best foundation. The loan made my monthly income to increase from 40% to 70% and that made my family very happy .
Gilgil Kenya, Kenya
i take this opportunity to thank the whole of Zidisha lenders and also Zidisha team for having offered me the opportunity to expand my article writing business. It really helped me alot and i was even able to recruit one person whom i taught how to write articles and he is now earning some income from it. The moderm i bought also gave me an opportunity to enroll on online education whereby am now learning online. All this happened through the help of Zidisha lenders whom assisted me alot. I am now on a missing to recruit three more youths whom i will teach how to write articles online ...THANK YOU ALOT
It my sincere appreciation for the
loan of $ 97.66 i got from my lenders. Many thanks to you all and may God grant you grace and his mercies to continue with the spirit to help young entrepreneurs like me to boost their businesses. The loan you gave me will enable me to buy office stationary i.e Photocopy papers $4.98, cartridges $17.9433,pens $2.4, pencils $3.59, exercise books $19.92 to boost the sale. The remaining amount i will clear school fees for my son. THANKS ALOT.
Hello Zidisha team. Your funds helped me to stabilize my business of cybercafe i was able to be ahead of my competitors. i was able to buy new computers and renovate my place. as shown in the picture
Banana Hills, Kenya
I received KES 31,855 yesterday. I am thrilled by your support. I will now go ahead and get the embroidery machine that I so much need in my business. Thank you so much and may you live long to help many other entrepreneurs.
Hi lenders, I appreciate your utmost support towards my cyber businesses. Indeed it has been a tremendous improvements as far as the business profit is concerned. It has increased from USD 270 to USD 320 after purchasing a computer. For real, clients are satisfied with my services. Initially before I joined zidisha, I could barely raise pocket money and pay for hostel fee. I entirely depended on my parents. But now, am totally independent and also I can pay myself part of my college fees. I thank you zidisha for the commendable work you have done towards promoting young entrepreneurs and creating an impact to the community. May God bless you!
Jul 13, 2015
This morning I met Ann Mwaniki, a wholesale phone card saleswoman and mother of two, who has used three Zidisha loans to expand her business inventory and provide extra income for her family.
Ann operates a delivery service in the town of Lucky Summer where she lives, supplying bodegas and groceries with the prepaid phone cards they sell to their customers. She purchases the cards each day from a bulk retailer downtown to resupply her roughly 30 customers, keeping track of their inventory and turnover to size her purchases. Ann delivers the cards personally to her clients, who choose her among competitors for her punctuality and reliability. Although as a wholesale supplier her margins are low, Ann's access to a sizable portion of business in the growing neighborhood of Lucky Summer provides a helpful supplemental income for her family.
Ann is on her third Zidisha loan and has maintained a 94% repayment rate. So far, all of her loans have been used to increase the inventory of phone cards, but within the next year she hopes to save enough to open her own retail store - selling phone cards and additional items like electricity tokens and M-PESA transactions to retail customers. Selling directly to consumers in a physical store will allow her to increase her profits and reduce the travel and delivery time that keeps her away from her family.
Ann grew up in Nyeri, a small town 250 kilometers north of Nairobi, where her parents still reside. She currently lives just off the main road in Lucky Summer with her husband Oscar and two sons: Favour Blessing, almost 5, and Trevor Mac, just 16 months. Ann's husband originally began the phone card business, which Ann took over when he started a job at a nearby factory, but Ann was the first to use Zidisha loans to expand the operations. Though Ann is a Kikuyu, Oscar is a member of the Luo tribe from the town of Busia in western Kenya. (He is the older brother of Edson Wandera, the Zidisha borrower I met a few weeks ago.) Oscar and Ann met after college, and after two years of dating their families approved the marriage though they came from two different ethnicities.
If there was any hesitation in the minds of Ann’s family about the marriage, it was put to rest four years ago when Ann gave birth to Favour. Unfortunately, the birth was a difficult one, and Ann was stricken with a severe calcium deficiency that left her barely able to feed her baby. For almost two years she was bedridden, eventually contracting tuberculosis due to her weakened immune system and needing to take a cocktail of pills each evening. Through the ordeal, Oscar supported his wife, even helping to change Favour's diapers and clean the house. Ann credits her husband immensely for staying by her side, something she feels another husband may not have done.
Now fully recovered, Ann is blessed with two healthy boys. On her way to work each morning Ann drops off Favour at a nearby preschool and Mac at his mother-in-law's house, and she collects them on her way home. The two children have opposite personalities; Favour is always smiling and eager to pose for a picture, while Mac is reserved and rarely away from his mother’s shawl. Ann is also thankful to have access to Zidisha, and she serves as a volunteer mentor for 24 other borrowers.
Ann, thank you for your hospitality today in showing me your home and neighborhood. I wish you much success with your growing business!
This is how vegetables looks now.. Thank u lender
Hello family I wish to inform you that my activities are ongoing very well since I received my second encor prèt, I made more movement than before and realized it also makes me more profit, every two weeks I send at least 20 red oil drums in Conakry and the sale does not delay meme especially in this month of Ramadan. With that, I thank all the Zidisha lenders, me and my family proud sum all of this institution that offers this great opportunity for entrepreneurs. Thank you and god bless you!
Translated by Google
Bonjour la famille je tiens a vous informer que mes activités se poursuivent très bien depuis que j'ai encor reçu mon second prèt ,je fait plus de mouvement qu'avant et cela me fait realisé aussi plus de benefice, chaque deux semaine j'envoi au moins 20 bidons d'huile rouge à Conakry et la vente ne retarde mème pas surtout en ce mois de ramadan. Sur ce,je remercie tous les prèteurs de Zidisha ,moi et ma famille somme toutes fières de cette institution qui offre cette immense opportunité aux entrepreneurs. Merci et que Dieu vous benissent!
I take this chance to inform you that my account has been credited with the loan i had applied for. I thank you once more for your services beyond borders. I have already ordered for four cartons of sodas going at ksh. 4600 and eight cartons of dasani drinking mineral water @2800 to be delivered by 9am tomorrow.
Thanks once again for the loan amounting to USD 100. I received the loan and with it i purchased two shock absorbers and a tyre for my motorbike taxi. This has reduced complains from customers regarding the comfort ability when being transported to their destinations. I thank Zidisha for their support and may God bless team Zidisha.
John - Wesly Pierre
Jul 12, 2015
Port - Au - Prince, Haiti
Jewelry exhibition in a presentation. Love my business. __https: //instagram.com/p/5DgvJxJeQH/
Exposition des bijoux dans une presentation. Love my business.
Here I was showcasing my work at China,peoples republic embassy in Nairobi where we met with a Chinese company which we partnered together.
The company is called Warom technologies.
Am so proud of zidisha for helping me acquire a good laptop which is making my work effective now acknowledged in the globe.
Thanks Graham for lending me .
Accra, Dansoman Est., Ghana
I sincerely don't know how to express my gratefulness to you, Nancy , David and Paul Graham, I sincerely don't know how? You have repose confidence in me and I will not let you down. I will with this money purchase some cement to start moulding the blocks and when that is done I will hire some people to complete the digging by then I will be in a much better position to cast the concrete work, then the block work will go up and that I believe will check the eating away of the soil, My aim as at now is to build to check the erosion, I will communicate with all of you on the progress of the work. Thank you so much. You have done what a bank could not do for me, even though my pay passes through that bank. thank you once again, and the Lord's blessing be with you.
Nisrina Leily Wahyuniar
product name : korsase clarita (best seller this month)
Some of my products(Pepper Sauce) in a shop.We are gradually increasing production.
On Thursday, I met Isaiah Githaiga and Mercy Muthoni, a married couple who have used Zidisha loans to launch an online freelancing business and to begin saving for their long-term goal of real estate development.
Isaiah met me at the matatu stop in Kahawa Wendani, the town where he lives with his wife Mercy and daughter Cecile. Kahawa Wendani sits along Thika Road just outside of Nairobi to its northeast, and it is a neighborhood of the larger suburb known as Kahawa. Swahili for “coffee”, Kahawa encompasses the neighborhoods Sukari (“sugar”), which has larger homes and estates, and Wendani (“love”), which has lower-income apartments for young families and students from nearby Kenyatta University. Kahawa is also known for its campus of military barracks and administrative buildings for the Kenyan Army.
Though he has lived in Kahawa since university, Isaiah was born in Karatina, a small town in Nyeri county about 100 kilometers north of Nairobi, along with five sisters and one brother. Isaiah's late father was a police officer and his mother, who now lives with his older brother near Thika, worked in farming. In 2010, Isaiah met Mercy Muthoni through Facebook, who had also been living in Thika with her family. They got married and three years ago had a daughter, Cecile Wambui.
For the last five years, Isaiah has been working as an accountant at Brookside Dairy, Kenya’s largest dairy producer, in their main offices nearby. His credentials as an MBA and CPA earned him a well-paying job in a competitive and often nepotistic job market, a financial situation that most Kenyans would be very content with. But Isaiah’s passion was to own his own business, and for months he spent evenings and weekends researching ventures that could be started with little capital, that allowed flexible hours, and that could be run out of an apartment. His first venture in 2011 was in academic writing, but it failed after one year. In 2012, Isaiah joined the freelancing website oDesk (now Upwork) and began working part-time on data entry and web research tasks. After years of taking online courses to build his skill sets and credentials, Isaiah secured a large contract through oDesk in the summer of 2013 that convinced him to aggressively pursue the business.
At this point he brought on his wife Mercy, who quit her job as an administrator to join the business full-time. Now, Mercy handles the data entry and research work while Isaiah focuses on accounting and book-keeping contracts. Mercy works a full day while Cecile is at school and then cares for her family and household each evening. Isaiah spends 45 hours each week at his day job and an additional 40 hours per week, on evenings and weekends, on his freelancing work.
Isaiah's six and Mercy's four Zidisha loans have professionalized and expanded their shared business. They have bought an internet modem, laptop, work desk, printer, business phone, and even a hot water machine to make coffee on the nights Isaiah works late through US business hours. Isaiah and Mercy each have 8 clients, mostly small businesses in developed countries, who pay them per hour or per project for their services. They work hard to produce high-quality work that encourages repeat customers, improves their oDesk rating, and allows them to increase their hourly rates.
I asked Isaiah why more Kenyan service workers don’t take similar freelancing jobs, which can often pay a higher wage than their day jobs. According to Isaiah, it takes time and energy to create and maintain a high-caliber reputation on a freelancing website, and many people simply don’t want to work so hard when they are already earning a decent wage. In his view, around 80% of Kenyans are satisfied with a good job and a decent pension, while 20% are truly entrepreneurial-minded and only fulfilled when building their own businesses. Isaiah and Mercy are driven to provide a better life and education for their daughter than they enjoyed themselves, and to achieve sufficient financial freedom to choose how and when to work.
In fact, Isaiah is already looking to invest his savings into a new business that will set him on the path to achieving this freedom: real estate development. Four years ago he purchased a small plot of land in the eastern half of Kahawa Wendani, a region that was mostly low-income farmland and had significant security issues. He was betting that the growing town would need this region for commercial development and would address the security concerns, and he was right. Isaiah gave me a tour of the neighborhood, showing me the roads, businesses, and apartment buildings that have sprung up over the last few years. Eventually we came to Isaiah’s land on the edge of town, currently used as a cornfield by itinerant farmers. The value of his plot has quadrupled since he bought it four years ago, and he estimates it could appreciate tenfold over the next decade.
Isaiah wants to build an apartment complex on his land: first, a single unit for his family that will eliminate their rent payments; next, two multi-level rows of apartments that will house families and university students. Having had a difficult experience borrowing money from a bank at 20+% interest to finance his land purchase, Isaiah wants to fund the initial apartment construction using Zidisha loans. Isaiah is committed to his day job for another five years (freelancing income can be inconsistent, and he needs a stable income to support his daughter), but he believes that real estate ownership can become his family's primary source of income within 10 years and he is eager to break ground soon.
Isaiah and Mercy, thank you for hosting me last week at your home and business. You have a beautiful family, and I wish you the best of success with your freelancing business and real estate project!
so much proud to say hi to my lenders.Am much thankful for the money you loaned me.May the almighty lord shower with His great blessings from the above.In fact the money you loaned has really changed me positively since my profit margin has raised from 50% to 80% which actually has enabled me to even think wider and have greater hopes and dreams.The business is doing quite well and i inted to open another branch so as to ensure that all my customers are attended to the satisfaction.Good luck
Renovation of the two toilets has just kicked off on 11th July 2015. The whole school team is exited since we shall no longer move to the next building for body elimination services. Thank you the zidisha team.
Kisii- Mosocho Market Mwobo Village, Kenya
My Tommy turkey. It is territorial. It is a source of security. Scares away unwanted visitors and predators.
From my previous loans i bought several ornamental birds like Geese(2 females, one male), Turkeys( two females, one male), Guinea fowls( 3 females, one male, Ducks( male and female and Egyptian ducks( one male and one female). I also bought several local chickens currently at 40. One of my turkeys has 2 months old 9 chicks and the other one is hatching by end of this month. IO am expecting between 10 and 15 chicks. I have 16 guinea fowls chicks and 30 eggs are in the incubator whose hatching date is 5th of August. I also bought 10 eggs of Snow White geese and my hen is sitting on them and i expect chicks to be hatched by end of this month.
I have also constructed a 2000 capacity cage for my birds. It is ready. I need around 1000 dollars to completely actualize my dreams. However, i am doing one thing at a time, accomplishing one goal at a time.
I have made a lot of progress and i am excited courtesy of Zidisha and my esteemed lenders. I am looking forward to a better working relationship.
Jul 10, 2015
Dear Zidisha lenders,
Following your immense support through your funding of the cereals and eggs project, I am happy to inform you that your contribution has greatly enhanced our quality of life. Since the eggs and cereals was a viable investment choice from the beginning, the entire shop business is generating $80 more in terms of monthly profits. As such, our savings have improved besides leading happier lives. Thank you Zidisha for your unwavering support.
Rongai, Nairobi, Kenya
My sincere gratitudes to my lenders. Am grateful most importantly for the confidence and patience that you have vested in me.
The previous loan of $90 was gave me a breathing space in the face of strong competition tides at my place of business.
When i joined Zidisha I had a capital base of ony $200 (Ksh 20,000) with a monthy profit of $ 150 (ksh 15,000) when it shot the highest.
My aspiration was that i would fetch atleast $ 225 (ksh 22,500) with and expanded capital base of $300 (ksh 30,000) with the help of zidisha.
I have faced bad challenges but when i look at my figures as they stand now, i can not be more grateful than this!
First my business is now worth $400 (ksh 40,000) and my profits per month avarage at $ 243 (ksh 24,500).
Within the period i have been a Zidisha member i have enhanced and expanded my stock. Early in April i had to relocate to another place nearby where i would get a more spacious room for my business.
Am thankful to my lenders who have been patient with me in my business as i faced critical adminstrative issues majorly because i had to joggle my business operations and my education especially that time when i was taking part of my final year exams in college mid last month.
Good news with all that is that am hopefull to graduate early next month all because of what the business has enabled me to.
I have all the reasons to thank my lenders for allowing me make these achievements in life.
I have lodged another loan application and i aspire to keep expanding. I effectively may not do that without your continued confidence and invaluable assistance into the course of my business.
Thank you and God bless.
Jul 9, 2015
Goodmorning to my Lenders,am well and am grateful,evey tyme i use the oven that i bought with the Loan that you offered,i bless God for using you as a vessel to bless me.The oven is of great help to me
Dear lenders,I realy appreciate the wonderful things you are doing to me and my business.Now my business is on going smoothly.ZIDISHA and its lenders have motivated me to write more different series of story books for schools,because they have made me known that whenever I call upon them for help in my business, they will gladly answer me and come into my aid.For now my business is improved to the extend that I can now get money to pay my fees at the distance tertially education and also get my daily bread .I can say that with zidisha life is more comfortable. There is therefore nothing that can shut up my mouth of telling others about the good things Zidisha and its lenders are doing to us here.I will also look for more trustwolthy business men to join.Thank you ZIDISHA, Thank you DEAR LENDERS.
I have completed my research on organic pesticide product development. It performed well and compared well with a common inorganic insecticide, especially on limiting residual heavy metals in vegetables. Future work will involve its commercialization by working on aspects like increasing shelf life, packaging, standardization, and concentrating to limit bulkiness. A report on the performance on limiting residual heavy metals has been submitted to my external supervisor at Blacksmith Institute (New York). concurrently, I submitted a manuscript based on the same research to the Journal Of Health and Pollution (JHP) (USA) for potential publication. If published, it will mark a great stride in the journey of both scientific research, technical writing as well as innovation for solving our contemporary challenges. I am hoping that both the manuscript and report will be approved before am paid the remaining fraction of the research support. I would like to thank Zidisha lenders who believed in this start up idea and chipped in their loans.
Nakuru Racecource, Kenya
Hi lenders and Zidisha members, am soo greatful for your assistance in seeing that i exel in life. I am finishing my loan on 12/7/15 and i can see a great improvement in the business as the margin have greatly gone up as well as i was able to service my loan comfortably without any strain. With you i can see i achieving my goal. Thank you very much
My poultry farm business is growing by the day since I joined this family. I am now absolutely positive that I'll be wealthy as long as I have your support. Thank you lender and thank you Zidisha.
EXCITED TO REPORT:
With my first loan, I have succeeded to expand my business. From clothes only, I am now selling synthetic hair for ladies (weaves, braids etc)
I am excited and soon I will rent a stall to do my business from.
God bless Zidisha Team and all the lenders and people of good will.
Kyere Gordon Kwasi
Jul 8, 2015
The loan was used to purchase of smartphone chargers,screen protectors,and covers. These inventories increased the earnings of the shop by 5%. The earnings was reinvested in the business.
first and foremost, i would love to thank the lenders for the loan that they gave me last time out of trust only. no cash deposit i made interns of shares like any normal bank. that was a rear opportunity and am grateful for that. the loan helped me purchase a laser jet printer that enabled me make paper plates for press printing. on purchasing the printer , i realized growth inn my business in terms of profit because initially i used to print from a nearby shop. the profit that i got enabled me to pay my loan on time and still managed to remain with something small for myself. thanks to zidisha lenders.
the loan you granted me has gone along way in boosting my business profits.its been doing good
Hi, I greatly appreciate to have completed my payment without any difficulty, zidisha family has been of a great life changer in my business, i had bought chips cooking machine which started at a high peak which gave me a chance to complete my payments in time, i now enjoy the growth of my business through zidisha support, thank you zidisha family
Yesterday I met Josephat Bundi, a clothing retailer and seasoned Zidisha borrower, at his home in the town of Juja.
Josephat was born in Nyamira, a region in western Kenya near Lake Victora and over 400km from Nairobi. Josephat is a member of the Kikuyu tribe, the most populous ethnic group in Kenya. Kikuyus are strongly represented in local and national business and politics - Kenya has had four presidents since the modern nation formed in 1964, and three have been Kikuyu. Much of Josephat's family remains in Nyamira, whom he visits regularly.
Though Josephat is set to graduate from JKUAT this year with a degree in control and instrumentation, he has been running his clothing business for over two years. Starting out with only string and tape to hang clothing from lampposts and fences, he has built the business to occupy a set of four adjacent wooden stalls at a busy street corner near the university. He has used three Zidisha loans to fuel his growth over the past year, expanding into shirts, shoes, scarves, jackets, pants, and other accessories.
Josephat dreams one day of starting a fashion clothing boutique in downtown Nairobi, where the market size and customer base will allow his business to grow bigger than it could in Juja. Unlike many students at JKUAT who spend time studying, having fun, or seeking jobs, Josephat seems committed to his clothing business, which he plans to continue full-time after graduating.
Josephat, thank you for showing me your business and neighborhood yesterday. I wish you the best of luck!
This morning I met with Judith Lukaka, the owner of a custom tailor shop in downtown Nairobi, who has used three Zidisha loans to expand her business and to support and educate her extended family.
For the last six years Judith has run Jarx Enterprises, a tailoring shop located in an indoor shopping complex near the Nairobi City Market. Judith’s store is located in the western or “uptown” region of the central business district, but she lives in Ongata Rongai with her husband and two sons. Her commute can take up to 3 hours each way, so Judith wakes up at 5am to beat the rush hour and spend a full day working downtown.
Judith's store displays a small collection of clothing for walk-in customers, but the majority of her business comes from custom, made-to-order dresses and skirts. These orders are solicited from clients she visits in-person to take measurements and perform fittings. Judith initially established her customer base from a small set of friends and acquaintances, and it has grown through referrals to spread across the city and its suburbs.
Jarx Enterprises focuses on modern women’s clothing that appeals primarily to the younger generation, differentiating itself from neighboring clothing stalls that sell traditional African wear, Arab or Indian styles, or shoes and handbags. The store makes dresses for one-off occasions such as weddings, funerals, and graduations as well as everyday and business clothes for young professionals. Judith employs a young designer, Kevin, who uses his knowledge of current fashion to design custom pieces for women looking to match the latest styles seen on TV or the internet. She has also recently hired a tailor who can complete two dresses a day, cutting and stitching sheets of raw fabric that Judith buys wholesale from cloth factories on the outskirts of town.
Judith is on her third Zidisha loan and has maintained a 100% repayment rate. She used the first two loans to add to her inventory of fabric and to buy a sewing machine and hire a tailor. Her current loan, however, has been used to open a new clothing business in Eldoret, a town in western Kenya, that is operated by her four orphaned nephews.
Judith’s motivation for building and expanding her business is primarily to support these nephews, children of a younger sister who died when they were very young. As Judith’s parents have also passed away, she assumed responsibility for her nephews. All of the boys are currently in or soon entering college, requiring large payments of school fees and associated expenses for transport, rent, and pocket money.
After visiting Eldoret and seeing a market opportunity there, Judith decided to open a second-hand clothing store there and employ her nephews to operate it. And so far they have been quite successful, each week remitting to her enough to repay the Zidisha loan. With future loans, she hopes to upgrade the store’s location and change its inventory from second-hand to custom-made goods. Judith is hopeful that her nephews and sons will be drawn to entrepreneurship after college, because she feels there is no better way for a young person to acquire a practical education and develop a sense of responsibility.
After spending time with Judith, it is clear she has a deep love for children - regardless of whether they are her own. Toward the end of our conversation, she spoke earnestly about her dream of one day starting an orphanage, partnering with local officials and policemen to identify and enroll high-risk street children across Nairobi. She feels the current support system is severely lacking, with a handful of orphanages that are often filled with children who have parents and that return children too quickly back into the streets. Judith fears what her nephews’ lives might have been like if they had lacked family support, and she wishes she had the capital to help others in need.
Judith, thank you for teaching me about your business today. I wish you the best in your clothing business, and I hope that one day you are able to start your orphanage - I can think of no better person for the job!
Jul 7, 2015
Am very grateful to all my lenders and the entire Zidisha Team for making my dream come true.My business has grown due to the previous loan from Zidisha and am making double profit.Innitially i used to make an average of $40 but now i make an average of $80 to $90 profit per week.I pay my staffs comfortablely and am now self reliant.
Dear Lenders, l used the loan to repay part of my fees and this has enable me to continue my education.Thank you very much and hoping you will continue to support me again so that l will continue my education.
Maai Mahiu, Kenya
With my first loan, I bought 7 chairs for 70 dollars. With the remainder I bought power extensions and power cables for 9 dollars. Armed with the itemd I fixed my business. My customer base increased a bit and I was able to achieve customer satisfaction. Thanks to you for putting a smile on my face.
I am in the process of setting up Pharmacy after shifting my focus to my profession due some ethical issues with the previous niche I was in. I want to Thika Zidisha family for keeping afloat and when the right time comes I will ask for your assistance. Whenever you are in this part of the country feel free and visit me at my new Pharmacy outlet serving a middle and low income population who are unable to access quality healthcare.
Grace Wakarindi Mugo
Kivumbini Estate,nakuru East Constituency,nakuru County, Kenya
Hallo all the kind lenders,I am pleased to tell you that my business is ding fine as a result of your kind support of zidisha loan.
Since I received the loan my kiosk has been ever busy in serving more customers than ever before.To you all I am thanking you for the kind support and I am encouraging you also to keep the good work of boosting my business in my future loans.Thanks alot.
Zidisha thank you for helping my dream to come through, God richly bless you lenders. I have received the loan for my new computer for the main serve, I really appreciate what zidisha has done for me. I can now serve my customers with all joy and I know this will help me receive all my customers back and this is going to help maximise my profit, I can now take good care of my family. I will do much to advertising Zidisha to the entire social media and also invite them to join Zidisha. Thank you for the loan.
Kona Ya Zamani, Kenya
Oh yes, i am so happy now my son will wont be missing lesson nor exams, cause i have received loan of kshs 17955 today. I say, thank you very much lenders and may God bless you all.
It’s not every day you meet an individual who is a student of math, computer science, and theology; a men’s clothing entrepreneur; a social activist and community organizer; and an aspiring self-help author!
This morning I met Stephen Mungai, a student and business owner from Juja who has used two Zidisha loans to grow a clothing store. Stephen is also a social activist and the founder of “Dream Vision”, a group of like-minded Juja citizens who provide food and counseling for underserved members of their community. Stephen is a true social entrepreneur: one who considers his business a tool primarily for social uplift rather than personal advancement.
I met Stephen in the town of Juja which lies 40km northeast of Nairobi, along the major highway connecting Nairobi with the industrial town of Thika. Juja is home to the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) where Stephen is completing his studies in mathematics and computer science.
Two years ago, Stephen began a small business by buying men’s clothing downtown and selling the apparel to university students via “door-to-door hawking” at dorms and hostels. Starting with just $200, Stephen established a loyal group of customers and expanded the business until he was able to rent a storefront on the main street outside the JKUAT campus. Two years and two Zidisha loans later, “Elite Boutique” now employs three people and carries a large selection of shoes, suits, jackets, scarves, pants, and women’s accessories. Stephen bought an automatic sewing machine with his second Zidisha loan that allowed him to expand into tailoring services, as well as a large fridge that stocks drinks and snacks.
Stephen keeps his stall open until 10pm most nights to accommodate his main customers: university students and employees. Although the quiet summer season from May to August can be challenging for financial planning and loan repayment, demand has been strong recently and Stephen is confident in sustaining and expanding his business with additional Zidisha loans.
After talking with Stephen for only a few minutes, it becomes evident that his passion and responsibility extend beyond the walls of his clothing store to the community around him. Stephen insists on walking me around the streets of Juja, particularly through an area of dilapidated tenements and stores along a winding dirt lane called Gashororo Road. As we pass through the low-income neighborhood, Stephen points out telltale signs of community alcohol and drug abuse and child neglect: broken vodka and beer bottles amid piles of trash and young children working or idling instead of attending school.
Stephen tells me anecdotes of various community involvement projects: just yesterday, when he worked with officials to confiscate and burn illicitly brewed alcohol; last week, when he provided meals for needy children. Digging further, I come to learn that Stephen is the organizing member of “Dream Vision”, a community group that provides counseling for victims of substance abuse, mentorship for children without schools and homes, and free lunches and dinners for the poor. Dream Vision, though small, is entirely self-funded; as Stephen insists, “charity begins with you”. Dream Vision works with church officials, community organizations, and the town government to advocate and organize events for societal improvement.
Stephen’s passion for social work is informed by a powerful world-view shaped by a difficult childhood and religious upbringing. Stephen is a devout Christian who practices at a local church and actually has a diploma in theology. He grew up in a poor and rural town near the Aberdares mountains in western Kenya, raised by a single mother who went through a divorce when Stephen was very young. Stephen never knew his father but is incredibly grateful to his mother, who not only sent him and his siblings to high school by taking a series of odd jobs but also sold the family's small farm plot to pay for his university fees. Stephen has forged a strong philosophy of self-actualization from his past challenges; he speaks often of the conscious decision he made to leave a life of hardship by succeeding in business. Stephens considers it a responsibility to help others in his community make similar, self-motivating choices through counseling and mentorship.
Stephen also introduced me to some of the many Zidisha members that he has invited onto the platform. He trains and counsels his fellow borrowers and advocates for their loan applications as strongly as his own; when they succeed, he argues, they can create jobs for the unemployed and help support the local community.
In fact, Stephen is writing a book to share his advice and mentorship with those he doesn’t have the time or resources to reach. In the back room of his clothing store, he showed me a frayed notebook containing the hand-written manuscript. The near-finished book is called “Change the History,” and it stresses the power of choice and self-determination in overcoming life’s challenges. Full of quotes from the bible - “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7) - and from authors like Paolo Coelho, it contains sections on dark themes of poverty, drug abuse, and suicide, as well as positive inspirational guidance. Stephen is confident he will publish the book one day, despite the considerable cost, and he plans to dedicate it to his mother.
I asked Stephen what else he might do if he achieved financial security, and he immediately replied that he would enter politics as a social activist. Unlike many of his colleagues, who gravitate toward Nairobi after graduation where job opportunities are better, Stephen has no desire to leave the Juja area. He is well-versed in the local town governance and finances, and full of ideas for how the Constituency Development Fund (a Kenyan poverty-alleviation initiative) could be better used to improve his neighborhood.
Thank you for introducing me to your business and your community, Stephen. I wish you the best of luck with your business and I know you have an amazing future ahead of you!
I am very grateful to you lenders for funding my previous loan of GH¢377.00. It has really helped me in the management of stocks and restocking of my mobile phone and credit card shop. Now I am able to purchase more phones for sale than I used to do. I am also able to pay my sales personnel well.
Thank you very much for lending me money to boost my business,i managed to increase my stock with loan,it increases my income with at least 10percent.I managed to expand my business premise,it also help me to clear some school fee arrears for my children.My neighbors are friendly and supportive in terms of business.
THANK YOU ZIDISHA AND LENDERS FOR THIS LOAN, I HAVE CHANGE MY LIFE AND MY CHILDREN'S ARE GOING TO SCHOOL EVERYDAY AND THERE IS ENOUGH FOOD FOR EATING AT HOME, AND I HAVE CLOTHES THEM ALL. THANK YOU ZIDISHA TEEM FOR THIS ORGANIZATION FOR HELPING PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT ABLE TO TO GET FUNDS FOR STARTING BUSINESS, THANKS THANKS, GOD BLESS YOU ALL IN ZIODISHA OFFICE.
Jul 6, 2015
Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso
Hi all and all my lenders: Just to mention to you that since I got my first loan in June 2015. With this loan, I was able to buy the type of fabric that I bought before to be able to sow and increase my quality of little dresses and so, I will be able to sell more and earn more profit. So, thank to Zidisha and my lenders and a long life to you all.
Salut a tous et a toutes mes prêteurs: Juste vous signaler que depuis que jai reçu mon toute première prêt en mois de juin 2015, avec ce prêt, j'ai pu acheter les genre de tissus que j'achetais au par avant pouvoir coudre et augmenter mes qualités de petites robes et comme ça je pourrai vendre beaucoup plus et gagner encore plus de bénéfice donc je remercie beaucoup a zidisha et a mes prêteurs et long a vis a vos tous.
Kisii Town Daraja Mbili, Kenya
Zidisha is family that really God has placed here on earth for me, my business has really improved, it is doing great, I used to strain alot, since Zidisha came to me, the straining ended long ago, thanks again.
My bills are paid so easily, my customers have increased, no customer has ever gone un served, like they used to go, most of the services are found in my cyber, thanks Zidisha family, be blessed always. Lenders you are marvelous. God bless Always
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