Blog written by the Micro Enterprise Team
Charles R. Swindoll says that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. Antony Mwiti, one of our loan clients has lived up to this. At an early stage in life, he faced a lot of challenges. His positive reaction and attitude towards his life situation made him view himself as a victor and not a victim.
The 35 years old member of Kiroo 2 self-help group is married to Rosemary and together they have two girls. He lives with his family in Kiroo Village. Antony had a difficult childhood. Missing school on account of not being able to pay the school fees was the norm rather than the exception for him when he was in primary school. He was passionate about getting an education but due to crippling financial situations, he had to drop out of school in Class 7. Being the first born, he had to take up responsibility for his siblings at an early age because his father was an alcoholic whose major concern was drinking rather than fending for his family. Antony tried to make ends meet by repairing motorcycles and vehicle tubes but the income he got was hardly enough to meet his basic needs let alone sustain his siblings. His income at this point stood at KES 15,000 (USD 150) at the end of the month. This was hardly enough as he had siblings to educate and a family to feed. His hard work and unwavering efforts made him dedicated to his simple job.
In 2014, Antony joined Kiroo 2 self-help group. Here, he found solace among other individuals who were facing similar challenges and were all determined to change their situation. He participated in table banking and merry go round schemes. This involved members supporting each other using a strategy of economic empowerment that is anchored in teamwork for building self-reliance and self-sufficiency. He was able to learn the value of saving. With the little money he borrowed from their table banking, he started a fuel resale business. Due to the limited capital, his business was not doing so well but he did not give up.
Due to the high level of group cohesion, active participation in group activities and strong desire to progress in their businesses demonstrated by the members, the Micro Enterprise team determined that the group should be funded with a normal loan immediately. Before receiving any funding, the group participated in the Micro Enterprise led five-day long Business Training which was held at Kairuni Coffee Factory. During the training, he gained knowledge and skills in business planning, financial reporting, enterprise management, animal husbandry, agribusiness and family planning etc. The group did not pass through the soft loaning phase of the program and instead graduated to normal loaning because the team perceived the group members’ businesses as sufficiently established to warrant funding.
Antony says that the business training provided a strong business foundation for him and the knowledge he gained was invaluable to his businesses to this day. Antony received KES 30,000 (USD 300). He moved from the casual motorbike repairing and invested fully in his fuel resale business. His business predominantly targeted the motorcycle and taxi operators who operate along the Keria-Magutuni route. The business he invested in generated lots of profit which enabled Antony to start another business, namely a hair cutting salon, in his village which targeted mainly children going to school.
With these two investments, Antony’s monthly income significantly increased to KES 26,000 (USD 260). With this large increase in income, he is now able to feed his family and pay school fees for both his siblings and children without struggling to do so. After the first round of funding, Antony was lucky enough to receive another round of funding of KES 30,000 (USD 300) in September 2016. Antony added money from his personal savings and bought a Corn mill machine thus expanding his business greatly. His business is doing well and his monthly income has since increased from KES 26,000 (USD 120) to KES 36,000 (USD 360). With this tremendous increase in his monthly income, he decided to invest in his household. He built a permanent house out of stone for his Corn mill machine and installed electricity and piped water for irrigation. He also bought a dairy cow and sells milk and gets additional income.
He continues to be a reliable mentor for other members of his group and they are always asking for advice from him on how to run a business successfully. He is very grateful to HopeCore for the positive contribution to his life. His repayment has always stood at 100% and we are so glad we could be part of his success.