By Betsy Ramser Jaime
“My happiness is earned from seeing a healthy community and my biggest wish is to achieve a whole healthy community.” Beatrice Monyoncho is a hard working woman who was born in Kisii town and grew up in Nairobi, Kenya. After completing her primary and secondary studies she advanced to medical school where she successfully graduated from the pharmacy program. As a graduate, she was then able to secure a small loan from both family and friends to start a pharmacy in Embakasi. Today she is able to operate the pharmacy herself with the assistance of a qualified nurse.
In addition to her work as a pharmacist, Beatrice has an abundant family life as a wife and the mother of two adoring children. It is evident that between her work and family she has a busy and active life. However, when she does have some downtime she loves listening to music, watching football, and swimming.
To provide an overview of her business Beatrice says, “I basically offer laboratory services and also sell over-the-counter medicine, which include painkillers among other medicines. If a client or customer comes to my chemist with a verified prescription from the doctor, I get to serve them and give them the right medication as per the prescription.”
She notes that she chose to start this business because of her passion for helping and treating people. She thinks of herself as an ‘ambassador of good health.’ Furthermore, she’s found that she has a ready market because diseases are everywhere and people are always in need of medicine and health assistance. She has also found that it’s a good source of income which is invaluable for herself and in helping to support her family. With her profits Beatrice is able to pay her bills and fees.
Beatrice first discovered Zidisha over two years ago in January 2015. She began with a minimal loan of $100 to add stock to her current inventory in her pharmacy shop. She predicted that this small loan would result in an increase of 10% in profits. More importantly, she was empowered and excited by the potential that her small Zidisha loan would have in improving the lives of her family and surrounding community.
As word began to spread about her business, Beatrice found that it was once again time to increase her inventory with a second Zidisha funded loan. For this second loan in March of 2015 she asked for $195. Soon after, in June 2015, she was ready to increase her stock a third time with a Zidisha loan of $374. As her business has continued to grow, community members now know that they can rely on Beatrice and her business as a consistent source of medicine.
Similar to her first few loans, Beatrice sought out Zidisha lenders for two more loans in November 2015 and May 2016 to increase her inventory and stock for her business. In November, Beatrice thanked the Zidisha community for their help in improving the health of her own community when she mentioned, ‘I am always happy when I can have a healthy community.”
Then in May 2016, Beatrice reported on the impact that her Zidisha loans have made when she said on her discussion page, ‘my last loan improved my living standards marvelously, I am so thankful to lenders for making this happen.I am happy to serve the community by supplying them with medicine.” Shortly thereafter, in June 2016 Beatrice reported that she would soon be adding laboratory equipment for diagnostic tests, a blood pressure machine, and other minor laboratory kits. This will allow her to be certain of which drugs should be given against the exact diagnostic diseases.
In September 2016 Beatrice was able to fund her largest loan yet of $1250 and in doing so was able to expand the physical presence of her business by purchasing equipment and renting an extra room for consultations. Her loans have indeed paid off in more ways than one. For one, she has increased her earnings by over 10%. In a less tangible sense, she has also been rewarded with a community of happy customers.
You can feel the excitement and energy in Beatrice’s words on September 25, 2016 as she updates lenders, ‘Hi lenders, am very much happy to inform you that with your big support, I have managed to expand my business in terms of renting another room used for consultation. I wish you could plan and make a visit to Kenya and see the fruits of your wholehearted support in my business. Anyway let our good living God grant you with good health and bless your pockets to continue to support the needy.”
Most recently, in April 2017 Beatrice thanked her lenders and mentioned, ‘your big support has changed the community.’ Beatrice clearly has a gift and passion for improving the health of her entire community. She sees her business as a way to provide better health services to the community as well as mitigating diseases and by doing so, increasing the life expectancy of citizens. For Beatrice, her success as a business owner is not just measured in profit but also in community health and flourishing.
If you would like to make a difference in a community like Beatrice’s head on over to our loans page to contribute to another project.