This is the latest blog from Mary Kiguru who manages the Sujali Self-Help Group of women entrepreneurs in Nairobi. She wrote this in December and it fills in some of the gaps from the previous entry sent following Mike Calvert’s visit in late November. See more posts about the Group and their work with microcredits here.
Linet (see photo of her with her son) has had a blast this holiday. She provided catering for a wedding on Saturday, has been baking every other day for either wedding or a birthday and I think she has orders for cakes for Christmas. On Saturday, I served as one of her cooks alongside Jacinta’s husband Steve as she needed more hands. It was a lot of work but I was able to prepare the spices for them.
Steve makes great Chapatis and Rice. He has been cooking for my mom’s (Susan’s) functions, three of them this holiday. My mom is quite an entertainer. He is booked for so many functions in the area and he performs to perfection. As for Jacinta, she is looking very happy with herself and even went on holiday last week… up country leaving Steve in charge.
Risper is not yet in a position to give up her job in the city but is still keen to do so and devote herself full-time to her horticulture business. Her farm is now full of every kind of vegetable. She wakes up early on Saturday to supply greengroceries with her vegetables. Risper’s great challenge is marketing and this is an area to concentrate on next year.
Elizabeth (who has the salon next to my mum’s shop) has been very busy. Her customers love her and always wait to be served by her. She has the cleanest salon around and is the most expensive in the area. She has defined her clientele, has expanded her cosmetics section (see photos below) and would like to add more items. I admire the way she has learned her skills on the job.
As I think of the impact that Sujali has had, I am pleased that we are able to support these women. It is great to see the difference in their lives. Some of them would not have started their businesses or been so successful without the micro-finance and I’ve seen so many changes in the women and their businesses. The target for 2016 is to reach half a million Kenyan Shillings (including the women’s savings which will be around KES100,000).