By Betsy Ramser Jaime
As a child, Rebecca Esere was raised in a large family, as the youngest of 11 children. She explains that having such a big family was often a burden for her parents in finding a way to feed the whole family, pay for necessities, and also send them to school. But somehow, they found a way, as she says, ‘thanks to their resilience we all are able to stand on our feet as grown ups. I recognize their sacrifice and struggle and I am grateful to them for that.’ At the age of 17, she started working as a Pharmacy Assistant to support herself and her brother.
Now, Rebecca currently works as an Administrative Assistant, and while her job pays the bills, she rarely has much money after that. Wanting greater opportunities for herself, she set out to venture into the farming business. When she first started with Zidisha in 2017, she shared a bold and exciting goal of purchasing land and a greenhouse to grow capsicum and tomatoes. She hoped that in time, this would provide a supplemental income to her current job, enhancing both her own life, and that of her family’s.
To better understand the working climate in Kenya, Rebecca explains, ‘without any professional qualification it’s almost impossible to get work in Kenya, and with qualifications it’s still difficult, but even when you have work it barely covers your living expenses. It makes more sense to go into business as you not only provide for yourself but also create jobs for others. That is the reason I would like to go into agribusiness not only to make a living but it will create jobs, and provide food for several people, at least in a small way. I will be contributing towards helping with the food security problem. In addition, everywhere on earth I personally think the most important commodity for every human is food, so I have confidence that it is a business that will succeed.’
At the start of her project, Rebecca shared her broad vision with lenders as she explained, ‘The green house project will also provide employment to those who will be working in it and food that will be sold to other, I feel in some way I not only better my life but of others.’ While she was aware that the cost of the project would be high, she also knew that her greenhouse would then last for 10 years. The entire cost of the investment would be $600 paid in installments. But this didn’t deter Rebecca as she envisioned the potential, knowing that once up and running, she could add up to $4,000 per year to her current income.
By starting this business, Rebecca saw that what she was creating was much bigger than a side business for a little extra money. She was starting something that would help alleviate the food shortage problems in her community and would also eventually provide jobs for her fellow community members.
So far, in her time with Zidisha, Rebecca has secured 8 Zidisha funded loans, between May 2017 and September 2018. While that first loan in May might have seemed insignificant at $5, she recently obtained her largest loan yet for $891, putting her well on her way towards achieving her goals.
Recently, on September 4, 2018, Rebecca expressed her gratitude for her lenders and the Zidisha community as she said, ‘I am humbled, and grateful to you all for supporting and trusting me with your money, so I can achieve my goal and help my people and others as well. I am so very happy to inform you that with your assistance I have made huge strides, I have been able to combine what savings I had and the assistance you have given me and have been able to finally complete payment for land, now I begin payment for the green house and God willing that too I will soon complete. I was able to visit the land and see the projects progress for those who already completed payment, I have attached photos so you have in mind what the greenhouse project is all about. The empty space is where my greenhouse and others will go, currently they have planted tomatoes and after the season is over probably capsicum. Again, from the bottom of my heart thanks for your continued support and good wishes. You give me strength to keep going.’
Would you like to make a difference in the life of a female entrepreneur like Rebecca? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to read about our other inspiring business owners.