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!

Kerry Tiedeman     Feb 21, 2015

My name is Kerry and I am a Client Relationship Intern for Zidisha in Nairobi, Kenya. Yesterday I had the opportunity of meeting Jannet Kanini in Ongata Rongai, a neighborhood of Nairobi.

Jannet owns a store that sells all sorts of clothing items as well as fruit. Her ultimate goal is to have a store with so much inventory, there's no need to go anywhere else. Immediately upon meeting her, you can tell she is a clever and well respected woman in the community. When I first arrived, she was meeting with friends and neighbors to offer them advice.

Jannet began her business in March of 2012 when she received her first loan from Zidisha to increase the inventory of her store. She began with ladies undergarments and has expanded into almost everything else. Before opening her business, Jannet worked at Beacon, a center for those suffering from HIV in the neighborhood. She told me that she chose to quit the center to start the business because she felt a need to explore and think outside the box, which was too difficult to do after 8 hours a day at her job.

Jannet and I easily fell into a convesration of local foods, music, and customs. A lady came by to sell her a Mukimo, which looks like a green tamale, but in fact is a type of puree with potato, corn and local greens. She bought one and offered me one. When I told her I was in the mood for Chapati, a type of pancake that they eat here with stew, she ran out to ask the hotel nearby if they had some. We sat and ate our lunches together, and when I asked what she did in her spare time, she told me she sang for her church choir, where her husband is the pastor. I was fortunate enough that she sang for me, first in English and then Swahili. What a beautiful voice! Jannet says that her other ambition is to create a CD, which is currently in the works. I told her I would be the first to buy one.

We sat for a while longer like that exchanging stories, talking about her children (she has two) who when they were younger, Jannet used to take them to the Nairobi National Park. She said it was a day to have a picnic, relax, and answer the questions of small children. Well, Jannet I think you are a woman with most of the answers.


Nairobi, Kenya

Kerry Tiedeman     Feb 21, 2015

My name is Kerry and I am a Client Relationship Intern in Nairobi, Kenya. Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting Jane Wamuyu in Ongata Rongai at her clothing store and salon about 20 kilometers from Nairobi Central.

Jane has been a member for Zidisha for three years now. WIth loans from Zidisha lenders she purchased the shop in 2012, and uses loans now to stock the store's inventory. Jane has also employed a friend of her's, Nancy, who helps with washing and styling hair. When I met Jane, Nancy was also there and we sat down to talk about the store and their lives here in Nairobi.

Jane came to Nairobi in 2004 with her husband from Nyeri, a city in northern Kenya. Her husband sells building materials and also borrows from Zidisha. While he was working, she decided she wanted to open her own business. She had always braided her friends' hair when she was a young girl, and loved clothes, so logically it made sense to open a salon/clothing store. Now she has had the store for three years, and is very proud of it. Jane is also a great saleswomen. I almost left the store with three t-shirts and a pair of leggings. She says that trousers are her best selling item. She goes to the market downtown twice a week to buy clothes to stock her store. She is a great location, right on the main road of the neighborhood of Ongata Rongai, where many people pass by multiple times a day.

In her free time Jane likes to swim at Multimedia Unvierstiy of Kenya, just down the road. As a child she grew up with her six sisters swimming on the Tana River. Having six sisters also contributed to her love of clothes. THey had to share their clothes, but they were also able to pick from six wardrobes. Jane's parents are still in Nyeri where they own a coffee farm. Jane spent much of her child picking the red berries off the bushes during harvest. She had a very different life in Nairobi.

Jane hopes to expand the inventory of her store with help from Zidisha. She uses the profits to pay for her two daughters' schooling as well as monthly expenses. With a well kept store and an employee, she has really made something for herself as a transplant in Nairobi.

Buying new ladies clothes
Nairobi, Kenya

Andrew Matende     Feb 20, 2015

The pictures shows items we bought with the money I received. The items were as follows;
Tropical mints kshs. 115
Kenya drops ". 75
Mr. Berry. ". 75
White mints ". 90
Big daddy sachet. 250
Ginger biscuits. 250
Lotta outer. 75
Total. 930
Safaricom 50. 369.20
Sportsman 10. 858.00
Safaricom 10. 184.60
Safaricom 20. 369.20
Airtel 20. 370.00
Rhino ndogo 2. 50.00
Kifaru green 1. 200.00
Total. 2401.00
Umbrella for shade. 1800.00
Sufurias 2. 1000.00
Cooking staffs. 1700.00
Transport. 200.00
Grand total. Kshs. 8031.00

Lydiatesh food production
Githurai, Kenya

Felix Amissah     Feb 20, 2015

Samples of clothing

Clothing materials for my african designs shop
Berekum, Ghana

Kiptui Edwin     Feb 20, 2015

A NEW BRANCH OF MY CYBER IN THE MID TOWN OF NAKURU

To open an internet service provider company
Nakuru, Kenya

Kiptui Edwin     Feb 20, 2015

A NEW BRANCH OF MY CYBER IN THE MID TOWN OF NAKURU

To open an internet service provider company
Nakuru, Kenya

John Nartey     Feb 20, 2015

I would like to take this opportunity and thank the entire zidisha team once again. This is to let you know that the loan I got has helped me a lot in the case of reducing pests on my farm drastically. My mango plants have also shown signs of growing very healthy too. I would also want to creat your awareness again that if maybe you have anybody who buys mango, you can direct him to me also, I would like to do international market too. Thank you and these are some of the pictures of my farm

Purchase of agro chemicals for my farm
Dansoman, Ghana

Margaret Wanjiru     Feb 20, 2015

Determination is Key

With the profits I get, I have already recorded one album.

Inventory for clothing and braids
Kahawa, Kenya

Judy Jeruto     Feb 20, 2015

Wonderful.

Cattle for dairy farming
Kamoi, Kenya

Angelina     Feb 20, 2015

Hello Erick
I am deeply moved at how most of you folks look after your families and your communities, seeking to give back wherever and whenever you can and I believe you folks set us a great example of how life could be if all did the same.
I actually feel honoured to be allowed to be a part of your lives and am grateful for the opportunity to help you and through you others with whom you are involved.
Who knows but maybe one day I will visit Africa and maybe meet some of you in person.
God bless and good luck with all you do
Angelina

Book selling
Nakuru, Kenya