By Betsy Ramser Jaime
Lucky Nguna is living a life that is reflective of his name, Lucky. However, that doesn’t mean that he hasn’t had his share of challenges along the way. He worked his way up to high school, but like many students in Kenya, when we could no longer pay the school fees, he was forced to withdraw. Fortunately, leaving school was not going to disempower Lucky from pursuing a great life. Shortly after, he moved to Mombasa, and secured a job as a cleaner in a cybercafe. In this position, he was able to work hard and train in computers. His hard work and dedication evidently paid off as one of his clients gave him a used photocopier machine and one computer. This generous gift was what allowed Lucky to start his own business.
He shares, “First, I operated in a small bureau, in my bureau I did photocopy and typesetting but the competition was high due to many and well equipped bureaus around. The profit that I got from the shop was very low, couldn’t cater for my life expenses. That’s why I was seeking a loan to upgrade my bureau with more computers and stationery.”
And through that pain point of needing additional capital to pivot and upgrade, he found Zidisha. With his first two Zidisha funded loans of $50 and $93, he was able to purchase an Epson printer to print high quality pictures.
A few months later, in November 2015 and May 2016, Lucky combined his next two loans of $179 and $361 to purchase a computer. Then, the remainder of the loan was used to pay his son’s school fees for both terms. Optimistic about his potential and the generosity of his lenders he say, ‘I hope this loan will change my life..’
In May 2016, Lucky shared with lenders, ‘Dear lenders, thank you very much for your support in my life. I also thank God for giving you this clean heart for helping people worldwide. The other loan I have completed it was for my Son’s school fees and to buy a new computer for my bureau, I managed to pay for my Son’s fee but I didn’t manage to buy the said computer because my Daughter was sick and I used the money for my Daughter’s treatment. Am very sorry for this but I hope to make it you fund me with this loan. God bless, regards.’
On July 11, 2016, Lucky professed his gratitude as he shared, ‘Dear Lenders, I thank you very much for your support towards my loans, the loan I received I bought a bicycle for my Son and I will buy a computer as I said when I was applying for the loan. You can have a look at the picture I took of my son with the bicycle.’
In 2016, Lucky made the decision to diversify his business ventures as he pursued an additional business, sugarcane juice. He is able to crush 50 pieces of sugarcane in one day. Lucky explains, ‘One pc of sugarcane is sold at kshs. 35 at our nearby market (Kongowea). 50pcs = Kshs. 1,750/= and when I sell the juice I get Kshs. 5,000/=.’
Lucky purchased his sugarcane juice machine on credit and requested a $538 loan from Zidisha lenders to finish paying for the machine. He shares, ‘I have seen a potential opportunity in this business because it is giving me weekly profit of Kshs. 3,000/= (USD 29 ) after selling 100pcs of sugarcane. My dear lenders please assist me to make my dream true.’
Fortunately for Lucky, his lenders continued to pull through for him as he successfully raised his next loan in March 2017 for $796, using this loan to purchase an electricity driven machine. This would make his work easier and would allow him to make more money. With this loan he also employed a young boy to help him in his business.
Most recently in February 2018, Lucky raised $525 from lenders as he explains the need for this loan, ‘Am requesting for a loan to buy another Sugarcane crusher machine. The machines costs Kshs. 50,000/= that is equivalent to USD 497 for the current rate, the machine is made in Thailand / China and it is good. I got another place though it is open place same like the other place I operate this business, at old place I do crush 70 pcs a day because the business is doing good in this hot climate, and I hope a new place I can crush like 40 to 50 pcs a day, that can give me a good profit. I hope after opening this small business can help me take care and educate my kids and also 3 orphans of my late brother who died in 2016. The kids are in high school and I am the one who pays for their school fees. So I hope extending this business can help me manage to educate those children.’
It’s hard to imagine the feelings, emotions, and pride that must come up for Lucky, being able to support his family and furthermore, to support his brothers children in pursuing a high school education. The same education that two decades before was taken away from him, because of a lack of funds. Lucky’s life has certainly come full circle and whether it’s pure luck, his name, hard work, or a combination of all three, I think Lucky would agree that these loans have indeed changed his life as he dreamed they would.
Would you like to be a part of a story like Lucky’s? Head on over to our Lend page and find out how you can contribute to a loan that will change someone’s life!