Setting a Strong Example

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Joscah Nyarangi Nyaata is a 30 years old, mother of two kids, Sheldon & Velma. Growing up in Kisii town in Kenya, she completed primary school and moved on to secondary school, but was not able to finish as she couldn’t make it to the campus, and her parents could not afford to send her to a private campus.

Undeterred, she moved to Nairobi and secured a job. However, once her position was terminated, she was back to searching for a new job. During this time she also got married and a year later they had their first child, a baby boy.

She shares, ‘With my young son I was forced to start a small business together with my husband. We were selling onions, potatoes, and kales on the road side. We saved money and luckily we managed to open up a shop where life became a bit fair. In the process of struggling to make ends meet, I was also blessed with a baby girl in the year 2014. This is the year I discovered that I needed a lot of income for my newborn baby.’

It was during this time that Joscah’s life changed in a big way as she came up with the idea for her new business and also started working with Zidisha.

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In January 2014, Joscah developed the idea to start an M-pesa and photocopy business. She decided upon this particular venture as M-Pesa is currently the fasting growing business in her home country of Kenya. This has become increasingly important in recent years as young people in particular need to transfer money from place to place without physically traveling to the place where they are sending the money.

Through her business, Joscah is not only able to empower her own dream, but also those of her children. With part of her profits going towards her children’s education, she is encouraging them to dream big.

Joscah started her journey with Zidisha in December 2017 with a $59 loan from lenders. Because she is in the M-Pesa business, it’s important that she always has at least a small amount of cash on hand when her customers need to send and receive money. Then, with the remaining funds from this loan, she also purchased a new copy machine.

By the end of February, Joscah could already see the impact that Zidisha was playing in her life as she shared on her discussion page, ‘I am very much happy to be in the Zidisha family, I know through this group I can achieve more. May God bless you all for we can achieve our dreams.’

A few months later, in February, March, and May 2018, she secured three additional loans of $71, $71, and $107 to save up for a secondhand laptop computer. This new addition to her business would allow her to type client documents and process online services such as kra prints and passport applications.

By July 2018, Joscah was ready for her next loan, requesting $161 from lenders to purchase printing papers to then resell. She foresaw this as a great opportunity, recognizing that no other business in her area was selling printing papers wholesale.

Most recently, in August and September 2018, she successfully raised two additional loans for $201 and $201 with which she was able to add more cash to her business and also purchased large quantities of printing papers to sell to the local schools. She explains, ‘This will help the school to continue learning smoothly as well as help me to earn a living.’

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This fall, Joscah was proud to share the impact that Zidisha has had on her business and entire family as she shared, ‘Due to Zidisha family loan, my life has completely took a different move. Am able to run my business without much struggle since am being boosted. I bought printing papers that am now supplying to two private schools. This is as a result of the Zidisha family giving me a loan to start the supply. My life is completely in a different level. I can now afford to pay my kids school fees at least. May God bless the Zidisha family. AMEN’

With our Zidisha entrepreneurs, the change that happens is much more than just a financial transaction. When our lenders choose to support a borrower, they are also providing confidence and validation. This is evident with Joscah as she shares, ‘Hello my good lenders, thank you so much for making me what I am today. You have made me feel blessed. Thank you once more for granting me a loan. May God bless you and give you more. Feeling very happy.’

Would you like to help make a difference in the life of  a business owner like Joscah? Don’t forget to check out our Browse Projects page to read about our other amazing entrepreneurs.


Growing a Technology Services Business with Zidisha Loans

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Paulson Tembo, right, mentoring a young man with entrepreneurial dreams of his own. Tembo says that the young man would benefit from taking out a loan with Zidisha.

By Daniel Carvalho

When Paulson Tembo heard about Zidisha in 2015, he had already been running his technology services company for three years. Recognizing his entrepreneurial drive, a friend had suggested that he take a look at Zidisha to see if it could help him take his business to the next level. He immediately signed up and took out his first loan which he used to buy a ink cartridge for the copy machine he had. Since then he has taken out more loans to buy two printers and a much better copy machine. This has helped his business steadily grow.

Tybentz Technology Services is strategically located in a small commercial center surrounded by five government schools and a newly built private school, so most of Tembo’s customers are students. Another reason he chose to have his business here is because of the cheap rent, which is due to the fact that the business is housed in a small room made of tin. But Tembo prefers having his business here than in the nicer structure where his business was previously located since so much of his earnings during that time would go towards paying the rent.

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Tembo’s business acumen and the loans he has gotten from Zidisha have helped his business grow to the point that he now spends most of his day providing technology services at schools and businesses while his business partner along with a young man they’ve employed attend to customers at their shop. Tembo is also a volunteer mentor for Zidisha, meaning that he is constantly telling people about the service and assisting them in signing up and securing a loan to help them grow their business. He generally targets young people at his church who seem interested and motivated in starting up their own business.

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Entrepreneurs like Tembo demonstrate the significant impact that low-cost, accessible loans can have on a person’s life and in helping them achieve their professional goals.


The Betterment of Their Future

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Millicent Nyokabi Maina, is a 30 year old woman from Kenya who is using education to transform her community. She is also married with two children and is passionate about education, running a school called, Bright Angels Nursery School.

She shares that, ‘I started the School with the aim of making sure children gain a quality education. I learnt that in this area there are so many schools of high standard and very expensive schools. Since most of the people in the area are not well up it is good to have a school which is not expensive for the poor who can not afford the expensive schools. Many children could not go to school because of their poor background. The Bright Angels Nursery School have given lot of children hope to join a school which they can afford with a quality foundation.’

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Millicent first started her school in 2012 and at that time she had about 100 Students in preschool. She knows that parents prefer her school to others because their children will receive a good education for an affordable price.

When Millicent first started with Zidisha, she was planning to have 150 students and 10 teachers in the coming school year. Throughout her time with Zidisha, her lenders have helped her to grow her school by paying for teachers, school rent, and her own daily needs. So far, Millicent has successfully raised 7 Zidisha funded loans ranging from 2013-2018.

While obtaining her first loan of $100 she shared her big vision with lenders, ‘I wish to apply for a loan to improve my business of a nursery school. I have a passion in education and my aim is to make sure as many children can access a quality education in Africa. Kindly lenders bid for my loan to support me to create a good foundation for our people through education and help reduce the level of poverty in Kenya and Africa in general. I hope to take big loans in the future to improve my school. I look forward for your continuous cooperation and support.’

By the time Millicent had raised her fourth loan in April 2015, she was ready to expand and begin renovations on her school. With $819 from lenders she was able to get started on renovations and was also able to cover the costs for new equipment such as, ‘desks, chairs, and tables.’

The following year, in February 2016, she was prepared to continue expanding with one additional classroom and more desks, chairs and tables. And with $1,111 from her lenders, she was able to make this happen.

On Dec 11, 2017, Millicent kindly shared this update on her discussion page, ‘Dear lenders and Zidisha Team, I take this opportunity to thank you all for the great support, so far the School from one level to the other with your support, continue supporting us as we continue supporting the little children for the betterment of their future since they are the world leaders of tomorrow.’

So far, 2018 has been a big year for both Millicent and her school, with two substantial loans from Zidisha lenders. The first, in January 2018, for $1,736 allowed her to purchase a school van to transport her students. She explains, ‘The population of my school have increased tremendously and there is a need to provide transport services to students who come from far distances. This service will help me retain more students and make good returns for my business. I will add USD 2,000 from savings and buy a good Van worth USD 3700. Kindly support me in this worthy venture.’

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Always ready to grow and educate as many students as she can, Millicent recently obtained a $1,909 loan from Zidisha lenders to buy a plot of land to build additional classrooms for her students.

Throughout the world, providing children with a quality education is often a challenge for parents, especially when they lack the financial resources. Through a combination of heart and grit, Millicent has been able to overcome this obstacle and provide a school that is desperately needed in her community.

If you would like to help fund other education projects all around the world, make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page.

Nurturing His Seedlings

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By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Ronald Kyere starting in the farming business in 2013 with $500 in startup capital. He chose to operate a nursery for cocoa seeds because, as he shares, ‘Few people were doing that and during the farming season cocoa seedlings become scarce. I was able to produce 3,000 cocoa seedlings in my first year. Surprisingly, people were chasing me for it. Now, I am able to produce 300,000 cocoa seedlings throughout the year. Some of the challenges associated with the cocoa nursery include: ordering of the cocoa seeds, nursery site/space/shade, potting/polybag filling, planting seed, watering, and pest and diseases control.’

Ronald expresses his thanks for his lenders as he shares, ‘I give thanks to all the Zidisha lending groups and the individual lenders who made my dream a reality. May God bless and fill all their sources of income so that they may get some to finance the needy ones like me.’

In his time with Zidisha, Ronald has become an experienced borrower, successfully raising 8 loans, the most recent for $2,000. However, as with anything, he was able to start small and he expanded and grew over time.

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That initial loan was raised in February 2015 for $100. With this first loan he purchased cocoa seeds and nursery bags in order to increase the number of seedlings that he was able to produce. He hoped that this would allow him to both satisfy all of his customers and also increase his own income.

Shortly after his first loan, Ronald started to see the positive results of his lenders small investment. He shares, ‘Zidisha community has so far brought me to this far by helping me to cultivate these cocoa seedlings. I was able to use the loan they gave me to buy a water pumping machine, constructed a small dam which supplies me water, and I bought some chemicals for spraying to protect the seedlings from pests infection.

However, soon after, Ronald was met with his next challenge. In April, he raised his second loan of $179 and used the funds to transfer the seedlings from the nursery to the field for cultivation. Because of the heavy workload involved, he employed 5 workers to help with this process.

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Thankful for his lenders, Ronald says, ‘The Zidisha Community has so far helped me a lot through my farming project.They have helped me to cultivate my first seventy thousand cocoa seedlings. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to employ those five workers who are helping me on the farm.’

With his next loan of $345 in June 2015, he was able to control an unwanted problem….weeds! Because he was in the thick of the rainy season, even his 5 workers, weren’t able to do it all on their own. Fortunately, with the help of Zidisha lenders, Ronald was able to hire four additional workers. He also explained that while the cocoa plants are in their infancy they are no match for the weeds and if the weeds are not eradicated they can easily destroy the cocoa plants.

For Ronald, supporting his community is an important value of his. Therefore, part of the loan also went towards financing the education of local orphans in his community supplying them with school fees and feeding fees.

By September 2015, Ronald was continuing to make big strides in his business. With his next loan of $544 he was able to purchase a hundred thousand additional cocoa seedlings. In order to prepare the seedlings he also purchased items such as, ‘rubbers for bagging, fertilizer, land for hiring, cocoa seeds, assistants, agrochemicals, and the cost of the Agriculture Extension Officer to study his seedlings in case of an outbreak of pests or diseases.’

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The following year, in 2016, Ronald successfully raised two Zidisha funded loans, one for $812 in January, and the other for $1,293 in September. With the funds from the first loan he purchased additional seeds and necessary items like a pump machine. Then, with the second loan, he purchased a car! In the past, he had hired a car to do his distributions and had experienced multiple problems, from the high fees, to car failures. Even though it would require a large financial investment, Ronald knew that it would be worth it in the long run!

With his next loan of $1,993 in March 2017, Ronald was able to re-purchase a wide variety of supplies from cocoa seeds to fertilizer and agrochemicals.

Most recently in October, 2018, Ronald was able to secure his largest loan yet, of $2,000. He shares, ‘I thank all my lenders for how far they have bought me. In fact, I am very sincere about their support and counseling they have given to me during my repayment schedules. The loan they gave me yields $540 as profit. I have used some of them ($350) to cater for my family and my two orphans who are in school. My customers this year have approached me to prepare seventy thousand cocoa seedlings for them to buy. After calculations, I can see to its that money in my possession can’t afford the project. I am here to raise a loan to embark on this project. I hope if lenders help me with this project, I am sure I can bag a huge sum of profit.’

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If you would like to support and empower a farmer like Ronald, who is making a difference in his family and community make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page.