Story of the week: Bernard Tangus

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An entrepreneur is someone who sees opportunity where others see only problems.

Like many other young adults in Kenya, Bernard Tangus completed university only to be faced with a dearth of professional employment opportunities.  Putting aside dreams of becoming a manager in a hotel or international company, Bernard returned to his hometown, a slum neighborhood called Ponda Mali in the outskirts of Nakuru.

The residents of Ponda Mali live in makeshift homes roofed with sheet metal.  There is no public sanitation service, and the dirt roads turn to mud in the rainy season.  Residents lack running water.  When Bernard arrived, there was no source of clean water in the entire community.  There were constant outbreaks of cholera, typhoid and other water-borne diseases.

Bernard had found his calling.  Within a year, he was sourcing treated drinking water from the city government and distributing it for a nominal price to the residents of Ponda Mali.  The demand for clean water was immense, but Bernard lacked the capital to increase his production capacity.  In February this year, he approached Zidisha for a loan.

The first loan, of just $150, was enough to purchase two more 10,000 liter water tanks.  Each tank was installed in an easily accessible location of Ponda Mali, and regularly refilled with treated drinking water.  In each location, Bernard hired a local resident to manage sales and care for the water tank – creating employment while improving health in the community.  The venture was a success, and in April Bernard raised a second loan of $473.  He is investing that capital in additional water tanks, each managed by a resident of the local community.

Bernard has used a relatively small amount of loan capital to improve the lives of hundreds of people.  He is now responsible for distributing thousands of liters of water every day to homes throughout Ponda Mali.  But he has never forgotten to share news of his success with us.  Today, he posted this update:

“To all my lenders, thank you a lot. Because of you, Elimika Primary school will now have water within their school compound. Through your lending, I bought a water tank for the school.”

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You may learn more at Bernard’s Zidisha loan profile page.

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