By Betsy Ramser Jaime
Ekirah Kariuki was born and raised in a family of six with her parents and 3 brothers. She attended a local primary school as a child and moved on to Mumbi High School where she graduated in 2007 before attending the Kenya Institute of Management.
In 2010, she decided to start a small business of her own and that is when she started to dip her toes into farming. However, the struggles of capital and access to financing proved to be stressful. Fortunately, she discovered Zidisha, and this partnership has allowed her to continually grow and expand her business while also studying for a Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Nairobi.
In the future, Ekirah would also love to get married and hopes to have 3 children someday. She also dreams of purchasing a piece of property as an investment for both herself and her future family. When she has the opportunity, her favorite hobby is traveling. She shares, ‘I would travel over and over again without tiring.’
To describe her business she says, ‘My business entails simply rearing chicks to be specific day old chicks, I usually buy them as young as a day old and take care of them accordingly until the sale time. The reason as to why I chose this business is because I found it amazing that my parents were able to bring us up comfortably using the income from the business. The typical cost incurred in these businesses is buying of feeds since they are usually very expensive. I use my profits to pay for my school fees and cater for my basic needs but mostly I would like to grow my business by expanding and also buying a car for doing business in and and out of town with much ease.’
Ekirah has had a total of 7 Zidisha funded loans between 2015 and 2018. With the support of her first two loans in July of 2015 and April 2016, she was able to buy more chicks and bags of feed to expand her business. For Ekirah, her business is also a big part of her life because it allows her to continue her studies at the University of Nairobi.
By March of 2017, Ekirah had grown her chicken farm to 700 chicks! At this point, she also received her third Zidisha loan of $287 to purchase 300 additional chicks. She noted that she would be able to use her previous profits to pay for the feed for these new chicks. In addition, another exciting addition was that she was able to employ a man in her community to help with her farm.
A few months later, she requested her next Zidisha funded loans of $437 and $756 in June and August of 2017. With these two loans, she continued to purchase additional feed for her chicks and also used about $400 of the August loan to pay her university fees. Ekirah shares, ‘This loan will really enhance my financial growth therefore making me to be more stable and by so doing I will manage to help the less fortunate for them to be able to grow themselves as well and also expanding employment opportunities to the unemployed. I expect my business to grow so that my profit margins will enhance from 70%-75% this will be like a margin of around $40-$45 and by so doing I will be able to grow myself and I will be grateful. God bless all of you my lenders.’
With her next loan of $857, Ekirah was able to continue expanding her business by purchasing 300 more chicks, additional feed, and with the remainder she was even able to pay her school fees. Most recently, she received her largest loan yet, in March 2018 for $1,133. After receiving this loan, she purchased 300 more chicks bringing her total up to 2,000 total chicks! Slowly and steadily she has been able to create a great business for herself and her family as she continues her schooling. She explains, ‘This will create a good benefit to me as I will manage to cater for my family basic needs and pay for my school fees and to the society I will add an extra employee to make 2. If my profit margin increases I will increase from KES 40,000 to KES 65,000.’
For Ekirah, 2018 is looking to be a big year! In March, she shared a few updates on her discussion page as she said, ‘Being part of the family achievements and also paying for our mother’s medical bills especially because she is suffering the lifestyle disease diabetes and pressure. Despite all that I have managed to go on vacation with my colleagues so we went to Mombasa for a weekend to relax and have a bit of fun thanks to Zidisha. I am hopeful that my loan will be fully funded so that I can be able to grow to the next level. Thanks Zidisha lenders and may God bless you.’
A few weeks later, she continued, ‘This loan will bring so much growth in my business and also in my personal life as I will be able to cater for my personal needs and also the community at large as I create more and more employment for various individuals. Thanks Zidisha lenders may the good God keep you and bless you as you continue touching lives in various parts of the world am honoured and am grateful. Be blessed.’
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