"We relocated briefly to upcountry and then came back and settled here in Dandora. Life was very tough having to start over from scratch with two small children. My husband would leave me with KSh. 150 daily for food and a few basic needs for the children. Having owned a vibrant business in Mathare, staying idle was never an endearing habit to me therefore when a friend suggested that I start a small business outside my gate I decided to give it a try," narrated Esther.
Armed with capital of only KSh. 150, Esther bought sweets, a few pastries and airtime, put up a makeshift table outside her gate and started to revive her business. The challenges were numerous, but she was determined to make it.
"I really thank HOPE worldwide Kenya who enrolled me and my children into the Nilinde Project. It was here that I came to learn about the Nilinde Voluntary Savings and Loaning Associations (VSLAs) and I enrolled in one. Because I already had a business running however small it was at the time, I found the table banking was particularly helpful in growing my business. I was able to fully stock my shop and later bought a fridge to stock sodas. Together with my husband, we requested our land Lord to turn the room we were residing in into a full shop. He agreed and now, as you can see, we have space for customers to sit and eat snacks and sodas which has served to increase traffic to my shop. When I began, I only got a profit of KSh. 30 to KSh. 50 a day. Now, I get at least KSh 400 profit daily. I also recently turned my kiosk into an MPESA service outlet and I am looking forward to growing my business even more this year,” said a vibrant Esther.
Esther and her daughter in their shop in 2017.
*The Nilinde Project helps promote family focused support to Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) through addressing household economic vulnerability, empowering caregivers to make investments to improve the health and well-being of OVC, facilitating access to essential services, and strengthening community-level OVC monitoring and support systems. The project is funded by USAID through Plan International.