By Mary Kiguru who has led the Sujali self-help group since the start
Last month I was able to meet the Sujali women who were free and have a meal with them during a visit by Mike Calvert. Understandably, not all could leave their work and meet with us. The news is positive with a number of the members being able to report that things were going well.
Alice continues to grow her chicken business although her husband has stopped the matatu (minibus) business that he was running alongside. Alice is pushing to move to almost 4,000 chickens and still has trouble meeting demand for her eggs. She is looking for larger premises to expand her business.
Jane was struggling with her banana business the last time we met her together earlier in the year but she reports that the drought is past and she is doing well. Bananas are not that common in the area of the city that she lives in and they are at a premium. As an entrepreneur with an eye for an opportunity, she next wants to open a second hand shoe shop and already has the premises. She is confident that she know what her clientele want and is able to meet their needs.
Elizabeth and Susan are happy with their hairdressing and clothes businesses respectively. Elizabeth has introduced a new income stream to her business: she is selling women’s blouses besides the cosmetics.
The savings are increasing and the women have raised KES124,000 (about £1,000) in savings to supplement the angel investments. We have added one new member, Milkah Wanjiru. Milkah has saved a total of KES4,000 and took out her first loan of KES7,000.
Jacinta’s cow, Daisy, just got its third baby. The two babies are now fighting over the milk. She expected a heifer but got a bull. She intends to sell the calf after weaning it since it is not of much value to her. The older calf is female and is expected to start producing milk in the next year. Her hotel business now includes outside catering. She has a full-time employee to assist at the ‘hotel’ (café) and a part-time employee who accompanies Steve, her husband on Saturdays to different functions.
Grace is growing her hotel business and selling charcoal. She has partitioned off part of her space to make way for a shop. She intends to start selling cereals (this in Kenya means beans, maize, rice, etc).
We look forward to what the next five years hold in store for this enterprising group of women.