Serving the Poor

Alex with his wife Faith

Alex Kephar is a borrower living in Nairobi, Kenya. Alex runs a retail shop that sells groceries, and produce, to support his family. Alex initially sought a loan form Zidisha to buy more stock for his shop, and increase his profit margin.

Our in country Client Relationship Manager Achintya Rai recently met up with Alex at his shop. Read about their meeting below:

Hello lenders,

My name is Achintya Rai and I am Zidisha’s Kenya Client Relationship Intern. On 16th March I had the chance to visit Alex Kephar at his shop in Githunguri area of Nairobi.

Alex has a general store in the main market area of Githunguri. Apart from items of general use, he also keeps fresh vegetables at his shop. He also has two piki-pikis (motorbikes), which he rents, and a donkey.

It had just been a week since the disbursement of his loan when I met Alex so he had not yet utilized the full amount. Alex told me that he had divided the loan amount into three parts. One, he invested in buying charcoal, which he expects to rise in price as rains come. With the second part he had increased the stock of his shop and the last part he had saved to buy stock in the future.

When I asked him if the loan had helped him, he very honestly replied that he hadn’t utilized the full amount yet so he couldn’t say with surety but he added that he expected to benefit much from the low interest Zidisha loan.

Alex’s parents passed away when he was young and he depended on his uncles. He couldn’t complete his education because of this. He started working immediately after finishing school. Alex is determined to make sure his children (two daughters- Joyce and Grace) don’t lack opportunities and wants them to study further than him. 

Alex’s future plan is to own a wholesale business. He told me that he “hates supermarkets” and won’t have anything to do with them. He feels that supermarkets cater to the rich and they do not serve people who buy in small quantities. He feels it is these people, who buy more frequently but in small quantities, that make better customers. It’s the poor that Alex wants to serve. Talk about life choices that that are motivated by something above self-betterment. People like Alex are surprisingly abundant in Kenya. People who benefit from micro-loans and use their improved position to help others.

I also met Alex’s wife Faith. Alex and Faith seemed obviously in love and after Faith’s many nudges to Alex (which seemed to say- “stop being a kid”), I was able to take a picture of both together.

Achintya
Nairobi
1st April 2012 

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