I Hate Poverty

Patrick 11

By Betsy Ramser Jaime

‘I hate poverty, I always dream big and my success is laid in business as a young growing brand,’ shares Patrick Ndirangu. He is a native Kenyan, living with his wife and daughter in the central part of the country. As a child, he attended a village school and then continued to a professional school where he studied Computers, Information Technology, and Business Administration. Because of his education in IT, he chose to start his own Computer Center which has allowed him to provide for himself and his family.

He shares, ‘My Business is a computer advisory center. I provide services such as cyber services, training, typesetting and photocopying, lamination, projects, photography etc. My services are useful to the community since the community get training of computers. I also provide them with computer related services. I choose this kind of the business since it was my dream and passion.’

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Patrick believes that his course of study was a great choice for him as his country needs more entrepreneurs and people who can give back to the community. Currently, his expenses amount to $200 and his revenue is $900 per month.

Patrick discovered Zidisha back in March of 2015 and successfully raised a loan for $99. With this initial loan, he purchased a camera. He knew that this would be a beneficial addition to his business as customers often need photographs. After receiving his new camera, he was able to continue to market and promote his business and services through social media and happy customers.

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A few months later, in August of 2015, Patrick was ready for his next Zidisha funded loan. This time around he requested $171 and he bought a photo printing machine to use in his cyber cafe and information center. The specific model that he wanted was the Epson 1210. This would allow him to provide more services in house rather than spending the time and money to outsource these offerings.

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For his next loan, Patrick raised a loan of $363 in March of 2016. With the funds from this loan he purchased a laptop as well as new software programs for the computer. He also hoped that in addition to his current business and services, the laptop would allow him to take on new freelance work as well.

After purchasing the laptop Patrick shared with lenders, ‘I bought a laptop and now am doing online freelance work and have made a significance in my life since it caters for my expenses and I cannot forfeit to work in remote areas since the laptop is there for me. It was interesting that during the election process I was able to do much training on electoral process with the laptop and I did the assigned task perfectly. In my cyber tech provision business it has made it easy to work when there is no electricity power. During this winter season from the cash from my work I have been able to buy my family and myself warm clothes since its very cold to keep us warm so as to have energy to work. Also, it’s interesting to me that I have been able to chat with my friends online for business purpose.’

Most recently, Patrick requested a loan of $558 in August of 2017. In order to support larger print outs in his shop, he purchased an A3 printer. This would allow him to print calendars, magazines, portraits, and posters.

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On November 29, 2017 Patrick took to his discussion page and excitedly shared with lenders, ‘I thank Zidisha and the entire team for the efforts they make just to make us have hope and to make a smile for the support they offer to us. My business have picked well for the earning I get after buying the photocopier machine, I can handle volumes of work in my work place and that way the payment is promptly and on time and get other extra to feed my family and looking at the future this group will change our lives. Thanks always Zidisha.’

As always, Patrick wants the Zidisha team and his lenders to know how much he appreciates them as he says,’I humbly thank all the 132 lenders who have funded me and entire the Zidisha team for making my dreams come true.’

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If you want to make another borrowers dreams come true, head on over to our Lend page to read dozens of stories and businesses of entrepreneurs who need your support.

Right on the Money

Abdul 3

By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Abdul-Karim Mohammed was born in Gumbihini, a suburb of Tamale in the Northern Region of Ghana, West Africa. He is the eldest of seven children and grew up in a poor farming family. As a child, he would follow his parents to the farm to help with the workload. His father did not want him to attend school, as he wanted him to help with the farm. However, Abdul was persistent and shares, ‘I cried ceaselessly and he registered my name.’

He was enrolled in Krabonso District Assembly Primary School and continued with its Junior High School where he was named the Senior Prefect (SP). Even as a busy student, he spent his time after school working hard on the farm. Later on he attended Vitting Senior High School where he studied agricultural science and then he continued to University for Development Studies with a specialization in environment and resource development.

He notes that life as a university student was a challenge in terms of finding the money to buy books and pay the class fees. To make some extra money, he began selling credit cards to his fellow students and offered mobile money transactions including: MTN mobile money, Airtel money, Tigo cash, and Vodafone cash. He has been able to grow this business as it is now a market that is doing well in Ghana.

To explain how this works, Abdul shares, ‘If someone wants to withdraw or remove money from his or her mobile wallet, the person pays a commission of 1% of any amount withdrawn.This commission is charged automatically by the network providers. Depositing money into ones wallet also attracts a charge which is paid to us at the end of the month. Everyday, people transact mobile money and also make calls to friends, business partners, relatives and loved ones both near and far, hence the need for this business. This business helps the community members to have easy access to their money.’

In terms of revenue, he uses 20% on home improvements and for paying school fees for his children. Another 10% helps to support the local orphanage, while 40% is used to reinvest in his business. The remaining 30% is used to repay his loans. He also pays a watchman to watch his shop at night to prevent theft.

So far, Abdul has secured four Zidisha loans, his first, was in November in 2016 for $404. This first loan was used to increase his overall capital. His next loan of $567 in March of 2017 was used to purchase credit cards and mobile money. He shares, ‘The community people will no longer travel to far places to buy credit or do mobile money.’

A few months later, Abdul raised a third loan of $861 in August 2017. With this loan he purchased two new mobile phones. One for mobile money transactions and the other for units transfer. The remainder of the loan was used to purchase mobile money and allocated to purchasing credit cards for the available networks in his business area.

Most recently, he secured a fourth loan of $1,448 in December of 2017. He was able to make some big changes to his business including: purchasing two new printers, new printing paper, more mobile money, and credit cards. He was also able to use a piece of the loan to buy food for the Tamale children’s home in his community.

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He enthusiastically shares, ‘This judicious use of the loan would be beneficial to the community and myself in several ways; people within my locality will no longer have to walk to far distance to access all these services I am offering. This will reduce their cost of transportation and stress. On my part, I will earn a lot of profit to grow my business.This will enable me to pay for my loan and also solve my family issues and make more savings.With this loan, I expect my profit to increase by 50% that is from 333.54 to $501 per month.’

Due to the example that he has set, his eldest child would also like to be an entrepreneur and his second would love to be an engineer. When he has the time, Abdul also loves reading books and playing football.

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On December 16, 2017, Abdul was excited to relay this message to his lenders, ‘I thank the lenders for their usual support. They have really improved my life and my family and other people such as the children home. God will bless them abundantly and grant them all their heart desires. I promise to be very committed to them with regards to the repayment of the loan and the growth of Zidisha as a whole. Thank you very much for everything.’

Would you like to support another entrepreneur who is changing their families and communities? Head on over to our Lend page to read about our other incredible Zidisha change makers.


Earning a Thousand Smiles

Mary Wachinga 4

By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Mary Wachinga has a passion for children. Born in Nyeri, Kenya, she studied in school until form 4. Afterwards, she started working for a shoe business, where she stayed for two years before making her way to Nairobi to start a cereal business. After running the cereal business for quite some time, she was ready to pursue her dream of caring for children.

Although running a daycare is not an easy career, it’s one that Mary loves. She has faced a number of hardships along the way especially struggling to pay rent. Through the years she has continuously learned, grown, and persevered. She receives support both through local churches and well wishers in the community. She also has three children of her own in addition to the orphans that she cares for. She has also been able to employ three employees in the business.

She shares, ‘I love this work with passion and during my leisure time I teach them songs.’ In describing the services and support that she offers she says, ‘I provide caring service and also counsel for the young parents who are upcoming and tell them how to nurture children and cope with the problems that children come through.’

Mary finds so much joy when she sees parents heeding her advice and raising healthy, happy children and families. Her love of nurturing comes naturally as caring for children is something that she learned from her own mother.

Through her business she is able to earn enough to provide for her family upkeep, education for her children, savings, and basic needs for the children in her daycare.

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Mary first discovered Zidisha in July of 2015 and used her initial loan of $100 to purchase mattresses, bed sheets, and covers. This was an important investment in her business as she wanted the children to be able to sleep well. In addition, this would show parents that their children were well cared for.

Shortly thereafter, she received her second Zidisha funded loan of $194 in November 2015 with which she purchased a tv set, a digital set box, a dvd player, paint, labor costs, and bed sheets. Then, in April of 2016, she requested a third loan for $411. With this loan, she put up a new ceiling in the building. The loan also covered costs for ceiling plates and additional timber, nails, labor costs, as well as school fees for her children.

By October of 2016, Mary was ready to continue expanding her business. With a $615 Zidisha loan, she was prepared to set up a new room just for babies less than a year old. To make this happen she used the loan to pay for: rent, a ceiling and nails, bed sheets, mattresses, transport, labor, and kids toys.

On October 19, Mary enthusiastically shared, ‘Thank you my lenders for the good work you have done in helping my business grow well. I was able to put up a ceiling and the place is quiet and also I have been able to take my children back to school and its also taking another stage where I want to rent an extra room for the small babies with less than a year. It’s really doing well.’

Most recently, in November of 2017 she requested her largest loan yet of $1,120. Mary was ready to do some maintenance work on her building using part of the loan to repair the floors as well as money to transport the repair materials. She also purchased additional bed sheets and used the remainder of the loan to pay college fees for her daughter who is studying Mass Communication and school fees for her high school age daughter.

Always thankful and grateful for her lenders, Mary shares, ‘Hi my trusted lenders. I am grateful for the last loan fund which has brought a great difference after the extension of my business which has enabled me to pay school fees well for this year and even support the orphans that I have. Though your support I afford a thousand smiles.’

If you want to help another borrower witness a thousand smiles in their community, head on over to our Lend page to read more inspiring stories.

The Future is Very Bright with Zidisha

Stephen A

By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Stephen Appiah Karikari was born and raised in Ahenbronoso, Ghana, where he had to work incredibly hard to earn an education. As the son of a peasant farmer, he had to ride his bicycle to nearby towns to attend school. After completing secondary school, he passed his exams with distinction, and moved on to Prempeh Senior High School. In addition to his studies, he engaged in trading and selling to ease the financial burden that his family carried to pay his fees and purchase his textbooks. Eventually, he completed his high school education and passed his exams. After graduating, he purchased two acres of land to start his own farm in order to help support the family and raise funds for his university tuition.

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He shares, ‘It wasn’t easy at first where I had to wake up early sometimes as early as 4 am dawn to prepare for farm work. I had no means of transportation and I had to walk on foot before I could get to the farm. This was my justification for waking up early at dawn because I had to start farm work before sun rise because farm work really becomes more difficult when the sun is up. Sometimes I don’t go to my farm but instead visit other farmers farms and help them in their farm work. By doing this, they also in turn visit my farm and help me with most of the very difficult work that I can’t do alone by myself.’

He has a vision for the future of becoming an educated agriculturist, researching crops and being well versed in the best and latest farm practices to boost his yields. He’s found that most farmers in his community use old, traditional methods, and thus, many of them are unable to make a profit.

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Right now in his business he sells farm produce including: tomatoes, pepper okra, garden eggs and onions. On specific days of the week he visits market days in nearby towns and villages selling his produce. He decided on vegetables after doing some research on various products. He concluded that vegetables would not require large plots of land and would be simple and easy to grow. In addition, he has also started to establish a small cassava to gari processing unit to help address the problem of cassava spoilage in his community.

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When he’s not busy learning or working he loves going for walks in the woods and listening to the birds chirping.

In November 2016, Stephen secured his first Zidisha funded loan of $20 which he used to supplement his income to to pay his university tuition.

Several months later, he was ready to start the new year well. With a second loan of $29 in January 2017, he purchased some simple irrigation tools. He noted that these tools enabled him to continue farming vegetables during the dry season. In Ghana, the prices of vegetables are very high during the dry season due to low rainfall and overall production. He predicted that these tools would allow him to remain competitive.

For this third Zidisha funded loan of $139, he purchased a mechanical sprayer, an NPK fertilizer, and farm boots. Stephen mentioned that the sprayer would be extremely helpful with pesticide and herbicide application for his crops. In addition, the fertilizer would be beneficial in boosting his vegetable yield.

In June of 2017, he requested his most recent loan of $227 to purchase a piece of land. Additionally, he purchased cement building blocks, plywood, wooden boards, and metal nets. With these materials he was prepared to venture into cassava processing.

On November 22, 2017, Stephen proudly shared on his discussion page, ‘my cassava farm is doing very well and ready to provide raw materials for my processing unit.’ He also stated, ‘this is a picture of GARI, which will be the end product of my cassava processing. it a very widely consumed food across Africa. it has a high demand and people who are involved in gari business are very successful.’

Through his hard work and the assistance of the Zidisha lenders and community he confidently shares that, ‘The future is very bright with Zidisha.’

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Stephen and his sisters.


If you would like to help empower another entrepreneur like Stephen, make sure to check out our Lend page to read about our other resilient borrowers.

Meeting the Needs

Yaa 2

By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Yaa Agyapong Agyeiwaa was born and raised in a small village in eastern Ghana. Once she finished secondary school, she was forced to learn a trade because her parents couldn’t afford to continue her education. However, she used this as an opportunity to open her own business, an internet cafe. Within the business she operates 5 computers, and a photocopy machine. She also sells stationery items as her shop is located near a local school. She notes that students often frequent her shop to purchase books, do research on the computers, and use her photocopying services.

While Yaa is not busy operating her shop or spending time with her 9 year old daughter, she loves watching movies, listening to the news, and watching football. She excitedly shares, ‘This business is helping me take care of myself and my daughter. I am also planning to continue my education at the appropriate time.’ She is also doing her best to save for her daughter’s education as she has already decided that she would like to be a lawyer someday.

For Yaa, Zidisha has been a huge catalyst in allowing her to expand and grow her business. Back in April 2016, she acquired her first Zidisha funded loan of $150 and set out to buy a new generator. Because of the power crisis that Ghana was experiencing, prior to purchasing the generator, business had slowed. She was also aware that some of her competitors had generators of their own and she knew that in order to remain competitive, a generator was a necessary next step.

Shortly thereafter, she requested her second Zidisha funded loan of $318 and set out to expand her business by adding books, pens, mathematical sets, crayons, exercise books, and pen drives to her inventory. She also decided to purchase small snack and food items including: milo, sugar, Nido, biscuits, and toffees. This would allow her to be a one stop shop for many of the students that frequented her business.

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For her third loan, she obtained $302 in January 2017 to restock her shop with many of the items that she purchased in her previous loan. A few months later, in May 2017, she requested a $422 loan to purchase textbooks and beginner reading books for the local students to purchase. She enthusiastically shares that, ‘The benefit I will get from this is interest and the opportunity to serve my customers well.’

In May, Yaa was proud to share this update with her lenders, ‘This has really help me to save little by little towards my daughters education and expansion of my business in the near future by selling in wholesale. In fact my family is very proud of me for the changes Zidisha has brought into my life. My little girl is also happy that her mother’s business is growing big eventually. My earnings have increased unlike the previous days. I have been saving little by little towards my child’s education. Thanks to Zidisha.’

Most recently, she obtained her largest loan yet in October 2017. She requested $715 to expand her inventory of both large and small notebooks. She also set out to purchase boxes of blue, black, and red pens, additional mathematical sets, paper for photocopying, and scientific calculators.

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On November 6, Yaa shared this message on her discussion page, ‘This is to thank my lenders again for this privilege. In fact with the help of Zidisha I have seen great changes in my life especially concerning my little girls education.’

Would you like to positively impact the life of a Mom and business owner like Yaa? Head on over to our Lend page to read about other incredible entrepreneurs who are building both successful business and thriving families.


Raising a Family

Mathew Osilo 1

By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Mathew Ogombo Osilo was born in Mutumbu, Kenya and was given a great deal of responsibility from a young age. Born as a the second child into a family of six children, his parents struggled to support their large family. He completed two years of high school but was then forced to drop out because he needed to work to help support his mother and younger siblings.

It was during this time, that Mathew experienced his first taste of entrepreneurship as he started his own vegetable garden. He openly shares that, ‘My dad’s failure to provide adequately for our young family led us to lead miserable lives.’ Then, beginning in 2004, tragedy after tragedy seemed to strike the family. First, he lost his parents and then in 2006 his elder brother passed away, leaving Mathew as the eldest member of the family. Since then, Mathew has been responsible for being the sole financial provider for the family.

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Knowing that his vegetable garden alone would not be enough, Mathew began to brainstorm other ideas to help supplement his family income. He decided on a bodaboda (motorbike transport) business. Fortunately, he discovered Zidisha and through the help of Zidisha lenders, he has been able to expand and grow his business.

Last year, in October 2016, he acquired his first loan of $22 to improve the appearance of his motorbike. Since he had been borrowing a motorbike, the owner was not willing to pay for any improvements and this was something Mathew had to do himself. With this Zidisha loan he was able to purchase a nice leather cover for the bike. He hoped that this would make the bike more attractive and comfortable for customers.

A few months later, he was ready for his next loan of $44 in December 2016. This time he set out to purchase new tires for the bike as well as an umbrella to shield his customers during hot or rainy weather. Then, in February 2017, he required a loan of $43 to keep the bike in good running condition through the purchase of a new battery and tubes.

By April 2017, Mathew was ready for a new loan of $76 to purchase rims for his bike. He noted that this would allow him to ‘operate smoothly without breakdowns hence increase my income. At the same time avoids delays when needed by customer. Our roads are in bad conditions so we need to do maintenance every month.’ He was also excited to say, ‘I congratulate the Zidisha family for their continued support to the vulnerable in society. Since I joined my family has benefited a lot.’ He also found that after adding the rims his income tripled!

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In July, Mathew asked for a $146 Zidisha funded loan to assist him in the farming side of his business. He shares, ‘I intend to buy a chopper machine for cutting and milling Nappier grass for my livestock. From the little income I bought some cattle for milk and domestic use such as ploughing, transport etc. The machine will make my work easier and also increase production hence make me able to pay back the loan. It also helps in the drought season you prepare the hay in advance to avoid low production during the season. It’s also cheap and less time consuming.’

In September 2017, he requested his most recent Zidisha funded loan of $314 to purchase a sheller machine to help him remove maize from the maizecobs. He knew that this would save him an immense amount of time. For example, he shared that the machine can shell one sack in 20 minutes while this would take 10 hired people a whole day. He also predicted that he would be able to rent out the machine to other farmers in his community.

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Recently on November 7, Mathew enthusiastically shared on his discussion page, ‘Dear lenders I take this opportunity to thank you for the great work transforming our lives through financial support. I did buy sheller machine. It helped me to do my work faster and finish in good time waiting for market. I also hired it to other farmers and made little income while helping the community. From the income and sales of the produce I managed to pay my loan. Be blessed for your continued support.’

Would you like to provide a loan to an entrepreneur like Mathew? Head on over to our Lend page to help business owners thrive all over the world.

Selling an Experience

Evans Omari 2

By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Evans Omari is a twenty-seven year old Kenyan with diplomas in Sales and Marketing, Graphic Design, and Computer Applications. He previously worked as a Marketing Executive for an insurance company and later joined a workshop company as a Marketing Manager. After two years in this position, he was ready to break out to work for himself full-time. While working his previous jobs, he started his business on the side and used his income from his job to help fund his business venture which his wife managed.

In addition to running his business, he is also an elected official for the Embakasi District. He won the position in 2010 and while it has had its ups and downs, he is excited about the work and programs that they are implementing to help the youth in his community with issues such as, ‘drug abuse, the importance of peace, rights, and becoming self-reliant.’

In his business, he offers a variety of computer related services including: computer classes, photography, computer maintenance and mpesa services. He is also continuing to expand his IT and Resource center as well. He chose this particular business both because of his background in computer science, marketing, and design but also because he felt a real need in the community for these services. His typical expenses include: electricity, food, rent, clothing, maintenance, salaries, and stock. With his profit he is also able to re-invest in the business to purchase better computers and offerings. He says, ‘I also believe that a customer will only buy a satisfaction but not a thing.’ Rather than just a service, Evans is offering his customers a great overall experience.

In January of 2015, Evans secured his first Zidisha funded loan of $50. With this initial loan, he purchased two webcams which would allow his customers to connect with their friends and relatives via skype. He predicted that this would also result in an increase of 20%-25% in profit.

Later that same year, Evans was ready for his next Zidisha loan. With $48 from lenders he purchased one CPU. Having a Zidisha loan to fund his business growth also alleviated some of the fear and worry that came from using all of his personal money to fund expansion.

A month later, in September of 2015, he discovered another need in his community, an increase in demand for passport photos. To make this happen, he raised $126 to purchase a Nikon camera. In terms of profit, he found that taking passport photos would require minimal effort on his part, and would still provide a nice return.

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As 2015 came to a close, Evans remained full of inspiration and ideas for growing his business. His next move was a $282 Zidisha funded loan to purchase an Epson printer for his photo services. While he already owned one printer, he knew that securing a second would allow him to take one with him while shooting wedding or Church photos, keeping the other printer back at his cyber cafe for customer use.

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In March 2016, he was ready to take the next step in his cyber cafe by adding 5 new computers. For this purchase he raised $658 in Zidisha funds. This would benefit his customers by allowing them to access a computer immediately rather than waiting in line for one to become available. He also decided that it would be helpful for his customers if his cafe carried resource materials such as the local paper to stay on top of events and opportunities.

Most recently, Evans raised his largest Zidisha funded loan to date of $1,659 in July 2017. With this loan, he was able to purchase an A3 printer which would be used to print posters, programs, and brochures. In July, Kenya was preparing for their election season and many candidates were coming to Evans to print their posters and materials.

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On July 11, 2017, Evans enthusiastically shared on his discussion page, ‘I can proudly stand before anybody and confess that Zidisha has really uplifted my financial status. Currently am earning good profit that enables me to meet all my expenses and pay my loan back. Thank you great lenders and Zidisha team.’

Evans recently shared with lenders, ‘I purchased A3 printer which has really seen me grow financially. Currently am able to print all types of documents for churches, schools, colleges and many events hence making a lot of profit. The increased profit have started plans of opening another branch by buying more computers and also securing the room where I will run the branch. My family is doing well, and my first son just graduated to class one. Many thanks to my lenders and the Zidisha team for trusting me.’

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Never afraid to share his gratitude with the Zidisha community and lenders, he continues, ‘I must confess to everybody that the steps I have made financially are because of my lenders and the Zidisha team.They trusted me and agreed to uplift me. Everything is working well. It is through Zidisha that I am determined to achieve what God has planned for me. My business is doing well and am earning good profit that has enabled me add more services in my business hence earning more profit. Am happy that my children are schooling well without any fee problems. Thank you’

Were you moved or inspired by Evans story? Make sure to head over to our Lend page to read about our other incredible entrepreneurs all over the world!