By Betsy Ramser Jaime
‘Through the loan I was given, I have been able to improve my life so much.’
Robert Waweru was born to a humble family in Meru county, Kenya. Money was scarce in the family as he was growing up but even so Robert was able to successfully complete form four. Afterwards, he worked manual labor jobs to pay his way through college and worked in a variety of farming roles. Currently, he is serving as an Evangelist in the Presbyterian Church of East Africa which is located in Timau.
In addition to his role in the Church, he and his wife also have a business together. He explains,‘To continue to have a better life we have to work hard in various things, such we have created a beauty saloon whereby my wife runs it. This business has been helpful to my family and my children to go school.’
Since joining Zidisha in 2015, Robert has received four Zidisha funded loans. His first loan of $100 was received in July 2015 and with this he was able to purchase some new items for the salon including: replacing the blow dry machine, new chairs, and wave plating irons.
By the end of the year, Robert was ready for a second loan in order to increase his stock within the salon. For this loan he requested, ‘$193 and he purchased: weaves $60, hair pieces $35, oil $25, hair chemicals $30, and other cosmetic items $50.
In addition to offering hair services, Robert found that he and his wife were able to sell other items such as handbags and accessories. For this new side of the business, he found himself in need of additional funds to purchase inventory. For this third loan, he raised $390 from Zidisha lenders and purchased: handbags, inner wears, oils and location, weaves, a blow dry machine, and rings.
On January 26, 2017, Robert proudly shared on his discussion page, ‘I wish to inform my lenders that the year 2017 started quite well.Regardless of the drought that is cutting across my country, my business is doing fine. I am happy because I am still able to pay for my loan and still meet other expenses.I look forward to expanding my business that it can meet more needs. I am also looking forward to starting another business in the future as a result of the support I am getting from Zidisha. I once more wish to thank my lenders so much for helping my life to have a new shape. Thanks.
Shortly thereafter he acquired his most recent and largest loan yet of $573 in August 2017. This change in his business came about through feedback from his customers. He found that customers were also requesting that he and his wife operate not just a beauty salon for women but also a barber shop for men as well. Robert was happy to make this dream a reality for his customers and with this most recent loan he purchased: shaving seats, two shaving machines, and more handbags and cosmetics to sell in the beauty salon. At this point, he predicted that these improvements would result in an increase of profits between 35% and 55%.
On November 13, Robert recently shared, ‘I wish to take this moment to thank my lenders so much. When I got the previous loan I was able to buy some stock and other commodities. This has seen my business grow and also able to meet customers demand. I have also increased my profit about 30%. This has made my financial status to improve. As a result, I have been able to join college and also pay school fees for my daughter who is in high school. I once more wish to thank Zidisha for this great offer and all my lenders.’
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