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Resilience in a Male Dominated Field

Mary has gone from a devastating incidence of robbery at her m-pesa ( Mobile Money banking business) to a new thriving business. In 2008 Mary had a m-pesa and a beauty shop that were thriving until one evening when her business was robbed. After the devastation she worked different jobs for a few years until 2014 when she decided to start a new business. Mary decided that she wanted to open a shop selling bike parts, auto parts, and beauty supplies. Even though the auto and bike industry is extremely male dominated Mary began to explore where she could buy goods to supply her shop and began planning where to open it.  So with the help of a loan from Opening Village Doors Foundation and some money she had saved, she started over and opened her shop.

As we visit her today, Mary’s shop is doing well, she has a good amount of clients and the word of mouth marketing about her shop is spreading. Thanks for donors who support Opening Village Doors Foundation, her business is doing good, she has a good income to support her family and she can make her loan repayments on time, and Mary has plans on how she would like to grow her shop by adding food items, and some expensive spare parts that she is not currently able to stock.

Near the end of our visit Mary thanked Opening Village Doors Foundation for supporting her. She described how banks will not give loans to small businesses like herself because they are only interested in large businesses in order to have large profit. She appreciates the  follow up visits done by Opening Village Doors staff means to her as they motivate her and helps keep her accountable.

The work of Opening Village Doors would not be possible without the generosity of those who support our mission. Thank you to all those who have shown support in the past and still do, if you would like to donate to help Mary and those in similar situations start their businesses and be able to support themselves you can click on the link bellow. No gift is ever small.

New technologies, new opportunities…

Every entrepreneur wants to be associated with a successful businesses; Mpesa is just one of them. Since its Launch in 2007 by Safaricom and Vodacom, MPESA has been considered a global success. Researchers show that more than two Thirds of adults in Kenya use MPESA for their transactions, this research further states that MPESA  does about 8 million transactions daily. Mpesa can be used for Shopping, Utility bills, Taxi ride, Deposits and many other uses. Currently Mpesa has about 85,000 agents countrywide and Janet Gesare is one of them.

Janet completed her education, where she studied early childhood development. For a few years she followed her career path and was teaching in one of the private primary schools within Ngong where she earned 6000Kshs ($60) monthly.  This, she says was never enough to sustain her and the family as the standard of living is very high. Janet bought the MPESA business from her uncle. Though she did not have enough starting capital as her uncle withdrew all his money from that business line. She struggled since she had not enough float ( money required to maintain at hand to pay customers) but had made so many clients.

Early last year, Janet was introduced to Opening Village Doors Foundation by one of our very loyal client, Jacklyn; she then visited our office to find out more about our business model. She applied for a loan of 50,000Kshs in order to boost her business. She also received training on managing her business and successful ways to engage customers. When we visited Janet in February 2017 she could not hide her happiness.  She invested the funds in expanding her MPESA business and added drinking water which she sells at 100% profit and being that her shop is centrally located in a petrol station and also near a garage, she sells up to four boxes of water dally.

Currently her MPESA is also doing very well. In fact she wants to clear the loan as soon as possible and apply for more to expand her business even further.

Where laughs are shared: Shiku’s Salon

In a nice single room, a lady stood busily braiding a young customer’s hair as they engaged in a serious conversation spiced with laughter. You could tell the conversation was friendly and the relationship built between them was cordial and respectful. On the shelves of the room were well-organized beauty products, a picture of the president of Kenya, and the business license from the county government. The eyes turn to us as we enter the room and it’s all smiles as she motions us in, saying karibu…. welcome to the Jackline Wanjiru story.

Jackline Wanjiru Mwangi is the first-born daughter in a family of three children. She began attending high school, but was unable to finish her studies due to financial difficulty; her family could not afford the tuition. To make ends meet, she began working as a day laborer, doing any jobs that she could find – mostly manual labor – to help support her parents and siblings. One of these jobs she got was to clean a salon. Over time, she acquired the skills of salon work and enrolled herself in classes to learn to style hair. Eventually, she was employed as a hair stylist in a salon, and she worked like this for some time before she saved some money to be able to afford to buy a blow drier.

She approached Opening Village Doors Foundation and sought help, asking us for a loan of 30,000 shillings – approximately $400. With the money OVDF was able to provide, Jackline purchased a stock of salon supplies and a second blow drier, and began her career, opening Shiku’s Salon. Jackline’s business has steadily grown since then, and she has never missed a single payment – she will fully pay off the initial loan this coming August, two months from now. She now has two full time employees working for her!

Throughout the whole process, Jackline has supported her siblings, a brother and a sister, through their studies in high school, helping her family to pay their tuition so they will not be forced to follow the same path she had to walk, and they might be better prepared for their own futures. Jackline hopes to continue to expand her business and plans to keep working in the salon doing what she loves, thanks to her diligence, determination, ambition, and a little start-up help from Opening Village Doors Foundation.

Thank you for making Jackline’s dream come true! Join us to make more stories possible.

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