“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found a way out of their depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness and deep loving concern. Beautiful people don’t just happen” Elizabeth –Kubler Ross
Lucy Gacheri, one of our Micro Lending beneficiaries is the very description of someone who is filled with such compassion and care despite her humble beginning.
Lucy is forty-five years old, married and has five children of whom two are adults, two In secondary school and one in primary school. She resides in a small village called Rwancege in Maara Sub-County, Tharaka Nithi County with her husband and three children who are still in school.
Lucy successfully completed her secondary school education in a midst many challenges and joined a catering college where she got her diploma hoping that she could pursue her passion while making a living. This did not work out very well because the catering job she got afterward gave a very poor pay and was very demanding at the same time. Her monthly income was KES 3000(USD 30).
Her income was not enough to fend for her two children who were already in school since her husband was not willing to contribute to meeting the family expenses as is required of him. Since her employment was her only source of income at the time, she had to persevere and she worked there for twelve years then she resigned. She used her small savings to start a chicken-rearing business. She did this by buying some free-range chicken that was a month old which she sold after four months to get an income of KES 6000(USD 60). Her income at this point was still not enough and the struggle became very real.
Lucy heard was invited to join a Self-Help Group by one of her neighbors and for her, this was the beginning of a beautiful transformation in her life. She joined Macharia Self-Help Group in 2012. The group registered with Village HopeCore in 2013. The Micro Enterprise team began training them on table banking and how to make wise investments.
The group received their first normal loan in 2013 where Lucy received a loan of KES 30,000(USD 300). Prior to this, Lucy attended a rigorous business training where she learned how to farm as a business, livestock production( breeding, feeding and housing and she learned how to budget for the loan and create a viable business plan. Lucy used her loan to purchase an oven to make use of her catering skills. She used the oven to bake cakes and sell them at a local market. Her monthly income massively increased to KES 24000. Her expenses were approximately KES 7100(USD 71) leaving her with a monthly profit of KES 16900(USD 169). The business thrived for the first few months and with her earnings, she bought a calf. Unfortunately, transportation became a major challenge and very expensive and she began to make losses and she decided to quit while ahead.
In 2015, the group received their second loan and Lucy received a loan of KES 30, 000(USD 300). She used the loan to plant Napier grass since she now has a dairy cow to fend for. From the Napier grass, she got an income of KES 20,000 (USD 200) every three months. From her dairy cow, she got an income of KES 10,800(USD 108) she soon got a calf which is growing well. In a few months, she was able to buy another dairy cow which increased her milk income.
She recently got another calf which unfortunately got complications during birth and one of its limbs had to be amputated.
The group, Macharia Self-Help Group did extremely well during their first two cycles and has been recently funded with the third cycle where Lucy received KES 60,000(USD 600). She decided to plant watermellons and is very optimistic about the income she will be getting in a few months. From her dairy farming business, she gets a monthly income of KES 16,200(USD 162). Her monthly expenses are a total of KES 5,000(USD 50) leaving her with a profit of KES11,200(USD 112). She also has a variety of farming activities which started as a result what she learned during the business training week on how to farm as a business. She also gets a monthly income of KES 2000(USD 20) from her free-range chicken rearing. She also gets a monthly income of KES 2000(USD 20) from her banana farming.
From her Arrow roots farm, she gets an income of KES 12,000 every six months. She has also planted some sweet potatoes where she gets an income of KES 6000 over six months. She also has a cowpea leaves farm where she gets an income of KES 2,000(USD 20) on a monthly business. Her monthly income has now increased to KES 23,200(232) after loaning from the initial KES 3,000(USD 30) before loaning hence a 673% increase in income.
Lucy always dreamt of being self-reliant and as a mother, one’s greatest dream is to be able to fend for her children and provide them with all they could possibly need. For her, Hope Core has made that dream come true. She has successfully and single handily educated her children up to the college level and two are still in school and she has no doubt that she will take educate them to the whatever level they desire. Additionally, she expanded her water piping system and that’s what has enabled her to farm more effectively. Over the years she was able to buy a dairy cow and a calf and until recently had two dairy cows and two calves. She was also able to construct a zero grazing unit for her dairy cows. She recently sold one of the cows for KES 80, 000 to source for the education of one of her children.
Lucy dreams of constructing a beautiful home for her family. She is thankful to HopeCore for taking a chance on her and she always appreciates the business advice she gets from the team.