By Betsy Ramser Jaime
Willy AmbaniI is a thirty three year old Kenyan man. As a husband, and the father of three children (two girls and one boy), his business allows him to provide for his young family. Currently, two out of his three children are old enough to attend school. As a child, Willy attended Kakamega Township Primary school and Lumakanda Boys Secondary School. Beyond that, he was not able to continue his education as both of his parents passed away and he found himself needing to start working right away. Through hard work and determination, he was eventually able to buy his own taxi which has now become a successful business for him.
Willy shares, ‘I would like to work harder so that my children can have a better life than mine. I have passion for cars; that’s why I went for driving as my job.’
Zidisha borrowers like Willy are able to do so much with so little. Willy entered the Zidisha community with a $5 loan and in the span of one year, he was able to go from $5 dollar loans to loans of $130.
With that initial $5 loan in August of 2017, Willy was able to purchase a spare wheel for his taxi. Shortly thereafter, he requested a second loan in August, this time for $8 which he put towards a new car battery for his taxi. He explains, ‘When I buy the battery I will be able to increase my daily income by a good margin.This will enable me to cater for my family and transport business without any alterations.’
As Willy continued to grow his business, he started to think about the customer experience and what he could do to please his customers and receive repeat business and referrals. With this, came the idea to purchase shock absorbers. With the help of a $26 dollar Zidisha loan, he put this idea into action. He anticipated that this would result in a smoother ride when picking up clients in parks or on rough terrain.
By the end of 2017, Willy was continuing to think ahead. He found that he would need to replace the two back tires of his taxi and that a repaint was also in order. He hoped that this loan would improve the aesthetic appeal of his taxi, thus, increasing his sales. Even in a few short months, Willy was impressed with his Zidisha lenders as he says, ‘I am very much pleased with my lenders because since l started with you my progression in life has really changed.’
In March 2018, Willy found a way to expand his reach, as he registered to join Uber. A few months later, in May, he used a $80 loan from lenders to purchase a new radiator, which he explains, ‘The new radiator will protect my car engine since the old one makes my car overheat.’
By the time that June rolled around, Willy was excited to raise the funds for his largest loan yet. With a $130 loan from lenders, he purchased a new set of shock absorbers and seat covers. A few months later, in August, he raised a second $130 loan which he used to purchase a pair of ball joints and a new steering rod.
To update his lenders, on August 2, he enthusiastically shared this update on his discussion page, ‘The new seat covers have really made my customers delighted, this has enhanced a good relationship between me and my clients I made $56 daily this week since I was hired by Azan Engineering Company to carry their staff to a trade fair in Nairobi.’
When Willy first started partnering with Zidisha he wrote these words on his page, ‘I would be grateful if you help me fulfill a dream of taking good care of my wife and children.’ Through his passion and love for customer service, Willy has worked hard to live out this dream each day. And in the same way that he cares for his family and customers he shares with his lenders the same encouragement, ‘Business is good. I thank God for everything. May he bless my lenders.’
Would you like to empower an entrepreneurial family man like Willy? Don’t forget to head on over to our Lend page to read about our other inspiring entrepreneurs who are transforming their families and communities.