By Lisbeth Overheu, Kenya Ambassador Volunteer
Rebecca Muthee has run her own freelancing business for the past several years. She lives in a neat one-bedroom apartment which she shares with her boyfriend in Zimmerman in northeastern Nairobi.
Rebecca works from home, so her living room is also her office. Her main source of income is writing online articles for various health, beauty and fashion websites, from which she earns about US $200 per month. She supplements this with wedding and events photography and videography.
A talented actress, Rebecca joined a theatre after graduating high school. Though she loved acting, the pay was so low that it took her two years to save the $135 she needed to buy her first digital camera. She used the camera to begin earning extra income as a professional photographer.
Some of Rebecca’s photography work
At first, Rebecca needed to pay others to print her photos. She used her first Zidisha loan, of $150, to purchase her own photo printer. This not only increased her profit margins, but also gave her better control over the quality of the photos she delivered to customers.
With the funds from her current Zidisha loan of $447, Rebecca purchased a HP Probook. This laptop is much faster and has a larger capacity than Rebecca’s previous desktop computer, and has enabled her to do the video editing needed to offer videography along with her photography service – something increasingly in demand for weddings and other events.
The new laptop also has a much faster internet connection which is vital as Rebecca’s writing assignments are received and submitted via the net. This translates to more earnings per hour spent on freelancing, and frees up more time for Rebecca to develop her photography and videography service.
The Zidisha-funded laptop
Rebecca enjoys online writing, but her real passion is photography and she would like to expand the event photography and videography aspect of her business to make this her main source of income. In order to achieve this she is saving money from her writing, and with her savings and a possible future Zidisha loan she hopes to be able to purchase a new, higher-quality digital camera and professional lighting equipment. With more equipment, she intends to employ other photographers at her studio from among the many talented jobless youth in Nairobi.
Having grown up in the central Kenyan city of Nakuru, Rebecca and her three brothers all now live in Nairobi. When she’s not busy working Rebecca enjoys taking a break from the hectic city life in Nairobi and visiting her parents and sister who now live in the town of Nyeri near the foothills of beautiful Mount Kenya.
Rebecca would like a family of her own one day when her business is more established, and she’s using her Zidisha loans to help her achieve this goal.
Rebecca and Lisbeth