We’re not just about spreading the wealth — we’re all about spreading friendship, too. That’s why we make it easy for lenders and entrepreneurs to communicate directly with each other throughout the duration of their loans and beyond. Scroll down to see ambition in action!

Stephen Nyoat     Mar 3, 2015

Hi guys.
well I am happy to join Zidisha Inc. I present many thanks to the person who introduced me to this community of zidisha. my project was funded less then two week time and I manage to buy few items to boost my business. the items such as zippers, sewing threads, and some Gitenges. these items has increased my income that helped me to pay our residential house. I also introduced Zidisha to my best friends and Am waiting if they make up their minds to join I can be able to send them to zidisha team for processing the necessary of membership to zidisha family.
In the photo is my life partner who runs the business
I thank God for the love she gives me withing the family

Scholarship two
Timau, Kenya

Ezekiel Mutai     Mar 3, 2015

Thank you very much Zidisha and all lenders fraternity for the support I am receiving. My life and my business is in a better part and is improving each an every time. The only challenge I had was that we lost one of our own well known Kalenjin musician Junior Kotestes who in 2014 lead the country in winning, Kenya Music Copyright A ward. We as the Kalenjin musician had to travel to his birth place in Abosi Transmara to give him the last respect. As Iam writting this mail I have now come to Nairobi where full Internet reign the place. tomorrow 4th March will be the day I will be making my Zidisha payment.
Thank you,
Mutai Ezekiel.

Buying of one personal computer for music processing.
Nairobi, Kenya

Grace Dawo     Mar 3, 2015

Hallo lenders,
I have added a photo of my peanut butter grinding machine, You can see how the peanut is being grinded into butter. I will be posting more photos while am at work.
Thank you once more and God bless you as I waiting for you Generous lenders to fund me.

Repair roasting machine and legal permits for peanut butter production
Nairobi, Kenya

Kennedy Onyango     Mar 3, 2015

With the initial loan of Ksh 3,534, I bough six classroom desks and the children are now happy learning in clean benches/chairs. The purchase of new desks has increased students morale and encouraged parents to be more responsible in paying the school fee on time which has helped to raise enough money to pay teachers salary for the month of February, 2015. Our earning have increased by 15% over the month of February. The increased earning have been used to pay teachers and buy chalk for use in the classrooms.

My eldest daughter has joined Grade 4 this year and she is happy to be able to learn sitting in a comfortable desk (bought with the loan fund) in the classroom.

Solar-powered clean water purifier & books for Hope School
Mbita, Kenya, Kenya

Muthoni Gatune     Mar 3, 2015

i have enrolled myself to a video Editing class,i want to have the knowledge of video editing so as in future i open up a studio,am finding it interested and am enjoying my classes,the teaching lessons will go for 3 months.

New fridge for my milk shop
Nakuru, Kenya

Taylor Hanna     Mar 2, 2015

Dear Lenders,

I spent the day in Tema last week, about an hour outside of Accra, and was fortunate to meet Benjamin first thing – I was grateful for his help navigating around the city!

Ben uses his Zidisha loans to support his wife’s work in fashion and design. Serwah worked as a secretary when she met Ben and started her family, but the work environment was stressful – she was overworked and frequently clashed with overbearing superiors. She had worked with beads as a hobby for 4-5 years already, so after quitting her job eight years ago she went into beading and sewing full time.

Since then, Serwah’s business has exploded. She had to make a last minute run to Accra on the day I visited and I get the idea that busyness and traveling is normal for this family. Serwah travels often to trade shows – she will be in Gambia next week. Everything is manufactured at their home by Serwah herself, 4 permanent staff, 5-8 temporary staff, and apprentices. It’s not just beads, either: while looking through the workshop and everything in production, it was impossible to think up something Serwah hadn’t tried her hand at: jewelry and bags, ipad cases and wallets, beaded gloves and headwear for weddings, sandals, broaches… you get the idea.

Ben’s a busy man, himself. He freelances as a graphic designer and creates labels and packaging for his wife’s designs, is a pastor and community leader at church, teaches at bible colleges, travels regularly for mission work, and just finished a doctoral degree. And this is all in addition to caring for their three children, aged 6, 8, and 13.

I wondered how Serwah’s work had changed the family dynamic, expecting that it might have caused some tension at first, but Ben asserts otherwise. Since quitting her job and following her passion, Ben says she and the family are much happier. She is much less stressed, her work is rewarding, and she is in control of her own time.

Ben and Serwah have used Zidisha loans to help buy materials to boost stock and are very thankful for the support they have received. They hope that as they grow their relationship with lenders and the Zidisha community, they can also expand the business further – allowing for new designs and increased production to meet a high demand. I bought some gifts for friends and family and hope to go back soon.

Ben – thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me and help me around Tema. I look forward to coming back!

Raw materials to expand bag, shoes manufacturing business
Tema, Ghana

Sammy Kanja     Mar 2, 2015

Dear Lenders,
Iapologize for not updating you my progress since last year.Actualy i'm doing well with my business,my cow had gave birth to a bull calf which is also in good health.Through you're support,i have manage to complete my course as Plant Operator whereby i can operate Grader very wel.In additional my twince boys had join primary shool.Lenders,you have positively changed my life and my family as wel. Thanks keep doing good to the needy people.

Loan for tuition to become a Plant Operator and to maintain my transport business
Romgai, Nakuru, Kenya

Abd Samad     Mar 2, 2015

Persiapan pembuatan alat tangkap ikan tradisional ( Bubu )

Bamboo for making fish traps
Kabupaten Jeneponto, Sulawesi Selatan, Indonesia

Kerry Tiedeman     Mar 2, 2015

My name is Kerry Tiedeman and I am a Client Relationship Intern for Zidisha in Kenya. Normally I am stationed in Nairobi, but this week I visited the beautiful coastal town of Mombasa, and that is where I met Esther, a school teacher who owns a small "everything" store.

Esther is a celebrity in Zidisha, because it's a photo of her and her daughter that is the photo on Zidisha's homepage. She told me when I arrived to her shop just outside the town of Mombasa, "See I do exist!"

Esther has had the shop for the last year while continuing to work as a school teacher, which she has been doing for the last 15 years. Esther teaches high school students English language and literature, and was able to meet with me because she is currently on half term. She gets three one month breaks a year. This contributed to why she started the "3 in 1" store that is part MPESA, sells gas, phone credit, and other household items like cooking oil and grains. She said that during these breaks she would even get bored since she is the type of person that enjoys being busy.

With the help of Zidisha lenders the business is doing well and has grown. She has used the loans to purchase gas cylinders, cereals, and other items that have added to her stock. In the beginning she just sold gas.

Esther is originally from upcountry and came to Mombasa 15 years ago once she had graduated University with a teaching job. She had secured a government teaching job, but later found out it meant relocating to the coast. She said she cried, but her mother told her to just go and she would make friends. Well not only did she make friends she met her husband here, who teaches computer classes downtown. They have a daughter, who is also featured on the homepage and an older son. They study at the SOS school in the village of Mombasa. The SOS schools integrate orphans with local kids from the communities. WIth thte school fees from the local families they are able to also pay for the schooling of the orphaned kids. Esther is proud of this set up. She has also worked to teach her kids to appreciate the things they have. She gives them money if they want to buy something at the store she owns, so they understand how much things cost.

Customers kept coming and going while I was there, and when Esther is working at the school, she has one employee tend to the store. The shop is open everyday from 6am - 8pm. 6am because that is when the milkmen arrive. It's a lot of work, but Esther said she is happy and has learned a lot over the course of the year.

Currently she is using hte profits for her business to reinvest and grow the store. She is also paying the school fees of her younger brothers. She has encouraged her sister to join Zidish as well. Her sister now owns a couple of cows upcountry and is doing well. Esther is hoping that one day she will join her upcountry and start a school. It's a dream that would come much later when her children are older, but she sees what possibilities are out there.

I left the store with a bag of cookies, and Esther helped me get a Tuk Tuk to the city where I would meet another borrower. Esther is an educated and bright woman. I am positive she will do incredible things in the future, especially with the help of Zidisha lenders! It was an absolute pleasure to visit her!

Inventory of environmentally friendly cooking fuel
Mombasa, Kenya

Kerry Tiedeman     Mar 2, 2015

My name is Kerry Tiedeman and I am a Client Relationship Intern for Zidisha in Kenya. Normally I am staying in Nairobi, visiting with borrowers, but this week I went to the coastal city of Mombasa and that is where I met Peter, the owner of a hardware store in the town center.

I met Peter by way of his wife, who is also a member of Zidisha. I first visited her salon which is farther north of the city. During our visit, she told me that her husband was also a member and would like to meet me as well. Getting know families is always fun, especially when they are also borrowers, so after our meeting I hopped in a Matatu and headed town, where I met Peter at the central post office. Then we took a Tuk Tuk to his hardware store.

The hardware store, he shares with another entreprenuer who sells shoes. He has had the store for around four years. Before he was selling second hand clothes. Taxes became too high to sell second hand clothes, so Peter began this business venture. He took from his experience working for a man who had a hardware store years before. There he learned about the different types of supplies he would need as well as some plumbing skills. His best selling items currently at his store are plumbing elbows and piping. He says that plumbers will be hired by a landowner by a place where they all sit on the street in downtown. Then they will pass by his shop and pick up the necessary materials.

WIthout Zidisha, Peter says there is no way he would have this store. He has used the loans for supplies and hopes with the next loan he will be able to own a store that he won't have to share in the same area of the city. Peter uses the profits from his business to help out his mother and his family. His father passed away years ago and his mother who lives in Nakuru still depends on him for support.

When I was with Peter, Alice called several times to make sure I made it to his store alright and to invite me back to their home. I wasn't able to, but when Alice called it showed up as "1st Lady" in Peter's phone. I laughed and so did he, though it shows what a family man Peter is, and where is priorties are. In the rare free time he has, he likes to take his wife and daughter, Mary to Fort Jesus (a medieval fortress in town) and the beach. He hopes someday he will return to the countryside where he is from and purchase land.

It was a pleasure to meet Peter and like the incredible guy he is, he called me to make sure I made it back safely to my hostel. Check out the photos from our visit!

Loan to buy farming equipment
Bombolulu, Kenya