By Betsy Ramser Jaime
Mildred Wafula lives in Namarambi, Kenya and holds a diploma in Secretarial Studies. She has also competed a Telephone Receptionist course and today she is running a small cybercafe called Namarambi Computer and Photocopying Services. Her services include: typesetting, scanning, printing, binding, Internet, and taking passports. In addition, she also sells stationary items such as, ‘pens, exercise books, geometrical sets, counter books, and envelopes.’
Mildred shares, ‘I chose this type of business because I have knowledge of offering services related to computers. I spend money on buying materials such as printing papers, binding papers and photo printing papers. I get this money through the sale of sugarcane and maize I plant on my farm. I usually use the profit to pay fees for my young brothers and sisters.’
Since 2015, Mildred has successfully raised 6 Zidisha funded loans ranging from $166 to $1,571. With her first loan, she used her $166 from lenders to supply exams to schools. She planned to target at least 20 primary schools in the area and hoped to sell them for 25 KSH per set (25 cents USD).
After finding success with her first loan, she set out a few months later to raise a second one, this time, for $377. Mildred was able to use this second loan to purchase a new mini laptop for her business. By purchasing an additional laptop, she hoped that this would keep her customers from having to wait in long lines and be served quickly. She shares, ‘through this I believe profits are going to increase double. Looking forward for your funding.’
As Mildred’s business continued to grow, the next solution was to purchase a powerful generator. She knew that this would enable her to continue running her business even during routine power outages in her area. She also foresaw a competitive advantage as none of her competitors have generators in their businesses. Fortunately, with a $602 loan from Zidisha lenders, she was able to make this happen.
By October 2016, Mildred was ready to share another dream with her Zidisha family, to own a home of her home. By investing the money to build a home of her own, she would be free from monthly rent payments and once she finished paying for her home, she could then invest the additional savings back into her business. To make this dream a reality, Mildred secured $936 from Zidisha lenders and used the funds to purchase a plot of land, and building materials including: iron sheets, nails, steel doors, and wooden doors. The remaining funds would be put towards laborers.
A year later, Mildred was already seeing the fruit of this investment in her home as she shared with the Zidisha community, ‘With the loan you funded me I was able to buy some building materials to my plot. The purchase of such materials have enabled me to build a house on my plot which has saved me an extra cost of paying rent. This has enabled to increase my earnings hence I was in a position to buy printing machine worthy 180,000/=. My first born child has been in a position to complete her primary education. Thanks to Zidisha and may God bless you.’
Most recently, in March 2019, Mildred had an urgent problem that needed solved, and of course, her Zidisha lenders were happy to offer a hand, with a loan of $1,172 to help her renovate her leaking roof of her business. With the funds, she purchased iron sheets, nails, ceiling board, and of course, needed to pay for labor costs.
In addition, the silver lining was that she also decided to partition the shop, meaning that in the future, she would be able to rent out the other side, bringing in a side income for herself.
On March 31, 2019, Mildred proudly shared with lenders, ‘The last loan that you funded me enabled me to add stock in my business. Because my business near the school I was able to deliver some stationery to school hence enabled me to complete paying the loan on time.’
Would you like to help a business owner like Mildred build a sustainable business and a house of her own? Head on over to our Browse Projects page to read about other entrepreneurs all over the world.