Where in the World Can You Get a Loan From a Stranger….Zidisha!

George Kiio 8

By Betsy Ramser Jaime

For many years, struggle and hardship was just a way of life for George Kiio. As a child, he knew what it was like to be forced to quit school when he couldn’t pay the school fees. However, that was not enough to hold George back. He then started work as a herdsman and worked for a year to raise the money he needed to go to school.

After finishing high school he earned the money to pay his college tuition by selling roasted and fried peanuts cooked in the school hostel. He comments that, ‘I was lucky enough to get supply contracts in some nearby supermarkets such as Uchumi, Kenya and other local supermarkets.’

Once he finished his university studies, he was ready to open a new business and career. He decided to invest in a long-term retail shop in the local area which operates 24 hours a day. He has even been able to employ two people to work in the shop. In addition to operating his shop, he is also happy with his job working in a cybersecurity company.

Utilizing his business skills from his previous venture, George was ready to add more items to his stock including: selling wholesale maize, beans, peas, green grams, lentils, wheat, and maize flour. He mentioned that, ‘I have realized in my local area that there is a market gap and hence the demand.’

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With the need for new stock also came the need for a financial investment. Fortunately, George discovered Zidisha and was able to secure his first Zidisha funded loan of $5 in December of 2016. This loan was used to purchase a variety of fruits and vegetables including: bananas both raw and ripe, green maize, vegetables such as cabbages, sukumawikis and kienyeji, bulb onions and other kinds of vegetables.

Two months later, George returned to his roots of selling peanuts by adding peanuts to his current shop offerings. By roasting and deep frying the peanuts himself, he would sell the peanuts at both wholesale and retail. For this he obtained a second Zidisha loan in February 2017 for $7. To convey the impact of this small loan George says, ‘A kilogram of peanuts cost Ksh.140 and has a return of at least Ksh.500. which can cater for my rent as I use my salary to pay school fees to my young siblings.’

Going forward, George was ready to think long-term. He determined that by producing his own vegetables and products this would cut down on food costs for both his family and customers as he could offer his products for a smaller markup if he was producing the food himself. Therefore, he requested his next Zidisha funded loan of $81 in April of 2017. With this loan, he bought all types of seeds that he could plant. He also put this loan towards renting the land, labor costs for planting, and bush fencing to keep out animals. Overall, he knew that this loan would allow him to cut down on his cost of living and become less dependent on market food.

On May 17, 2017, George shared this incredible update on his discussion page, ‘Thank you Zidisha for supplementing my initial capital in all my businesses. May God bless you all. Last but not least, thank you my lenders and may God increase your capital to fund more loans. You have golden hearts. I wish you existed the time I schooled. I would have not gone through such tough challenges.’

For George’s most recent loan, he requested $229 in June 2017. He planned to use this loan to buy 50 kg of raw peanuts for roasting. He predicted that this would generate a profit of at least $70 USD which he could use to reinvest into his business and to put towards his home and shop rent. He also intends to buy a meko (cooking gas) and a larger sufuria (cooking pot) for roasting his peanuts. Finally, he will continue to buy new vegetables and food inventory until he is able to sell the products that he is growing himself.

George Kiio 1

George is always excited and optimistic about the future and would like lenders to know that, ‘I will use my profit to educate my young girl, who will be joining baby school in August, and support my parents. If all goes well, then I will be able to purchase commercial land where I can build my own shop. # i love my lenders’

Wanting to share how truly grateful he is to both his lenders and the Zidisha community George shares, ‘Thank you my lenders for taking time to lend me your money. It may seem small to you but to me is too much. I never imagined will ever get a platform like this one. Thanks Zidisha too. Where in the World would I have gotten a loan from a stranger? It’s quite motivating. Payment of the loan is not an option but mandatory and actually on-time. I love you all.

Overall, George is so impressed with how his life has changed since he was first introduced to Zidisha. He is now able to produce larger quantities and to upgrade the quality of his products. In addition, he is excited to share that he has even been able to save up for a smartphone. Now he is able to take and upload his own photos rather than always using a cyber cafe. In his own words, ‘Zidisha is improving my life very much.’

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Would you like to help improve the life of an entrepreneur like George. If so, make sure to check out our Lend page to read updates and stories of other incredible business owners.

1,000 New Chicks for Kossonou

Kossonou Yao 10

By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Kossonou Yao is from a small town called Manpong, in the Ashanti region of Ghana. He grew up as the eldest of three children and attended Kumaca Senior High School for his high school certificate. Afterwards, he furthered his education at Garden City University where he earned a degree in Business Studies. He currently resides in Kumasi Breman.

Kossonou started a poultry farming business back in 2004 and like most first time entrepreneurs, he experienced a lot of hardship along the way. However, while it was difficult he just kept going and continued to do the work. Today he is in a much better position and through his persistence and the help of Zidisha lenders, he is able to support the needs of his family with his businesses profits. He mentioned that his favorite hobby is learning and discovering new methods about his profession.

There are a few reasons why he chose to enter into the poultry farming market. First, he found that there is a high demand for birds and eggs where he lives. The second reason is simply because this business is his passion and he absolutely loves doing it. Through his business he is able to provide his town with quality birds and eggs and is even able to employ one member of his community to assist him in the business.

The biggest cost within the business is feed for his birds. With his profits he is able to pay his children’s tuition fees as well as to take care of his family. It is also important to him that he is always reinvesting his profits in his business. One big problem that he found was that he didn’t have the necessary capital to buy new equipment and the required medicine to expand and grow his enterprise. Therefore, he was limited as to how many birds he could have.

Fortunately, he discovered Zidisha. In August of 2015, he requested a Zidisha funded loan of $150. He was able to use this money to purchase new equipment such as feeding troughs. He purchased 10 of these feeding troughs as well as multi enzyme medicine. He noted to lenders that, ‘Getting this loan is going to help me a lot to achieve my goals. The ability to obtain this loan will create more benefit to me and family.’

A few months later, in November of 2015, he was ready for his next Zidisha loan of $300. With this loan he was able to take better care of his chickens by purchasing food for them such as maize and fish meal. He mentioned to lenders that food is the number one problem in rearing chicks. Once again, in March 2016, Kossonou found himself needing more capital to feed his chicks. He knew that could count on Zidisha lenders with his next loan of $518 to purchase more poultry feed of maize and fish meal.

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In June 2016, Kossonou realized that he was ready to make a big move in his business by purchasing 1,000 day old chicks. This was a big investment and Zidisha lenders were happy to help with a loan of $946. He noted that ‘livestock is a good job. It takes a lot of investment and knowledge in the field.’ With Zidisha lenders, this has created an ideal partnership. Zidisha lenders continue to invest in Kossonou’s business and Kossonou is always learning as much as he can about his industry. Afterwards, he was quick to express his gratitude as he said, ‘Again thank you. Thanks Zidisha team. Thanks all Lenders. God bless you.’

For his most recent loan, Kossonou requested $1,767 in January 2017. He explains his request and says, ‘Thank you my Lenders for the trust you had in me to grant me a fourth loan, I really appreciate the help you have given me. Your help has really improved my poultry business over the last couple of months. I will like to seek for another loan to restock poultry feed since at this time of the year the prices of the poultry feed is quite less as compared to other seasons. To get the most out of your birds, it requires you to feed them well, feeding them well keeps them healthy and boosts egg production. Buying the poultry feeds in bulk at this time is very much affordable and will help increase my income since I will be saving more money in buying feeds for my birds.’

Kossonou smartly realized that with the assistance of Zidisha lenders, he could start buying his feed in bulk, saving him money in the process. He is always appreciative of his lenders as he shares, ‘Thank you Zidisha Team. Thank you Lenders without you it will be impossible for us to achieve what we have now.’

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Through the ups and downs of entrepreneurship, Kossonou has known that he could count on the consistency of his Zidisha lenders and the support of the Zidisha community. He is now in a good place where he can pay the tuition fees for his children and can support his family. On January 11, 2017 he was pleased to share this message on his discussion page, ‘My Lenders I am filled with happiness. Thank you all. I miss words to express my happiness.’

Would you like to help another entrepreneur pursue their dream of starting a business? Check out our lend page to read more incredible stories of our Zidisha business owners.

A Charged Life

Burhan Ebrahimji 1

By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Burhan Ebrahimji knows what it means to be an entrepreneur who pivots and tries new things. When he started borrowing from Zidisha he had been in business for 5 years. He began by selling quality clothing items to his customers in Kaloeni, Kenya. Although he only had a small amount of capital when he began, he was able to use what he had to grow slowly and organically. In addition to his shop, he also did computer repairs part-time for the dual purpose of having an additional income stream and as another way to pay off his Zidisha loan. He notes that, ‘I thank God for the success he has given me till now. It is my aim to provide my clients with quality clothing and fairly priced items at my shop.’

Burhan found that his business did well for about 3 years. In year 4, business suffered due to the economy and his location. While he couldn’t control the economy, he did take the initiative to improve his location. He closed his shop and was able to move it to a high traffic area.

Burhan mentioned that his target customers are mostly women and that his biggest selling items are tops, dresses, and handbags. He offers a variety of price points and is able to make a nice profit. According to Burhan, ‘because of Zidisha my family has been able to live a comfortable life & they are very grateful. With the help Of Zidisha & Lenders my son next year is going to school in 2016. I am very grateful & pleased with Zidisha. It is doing a great job for me & my family.’

Burhan Ebrahimji 2

For Burhan’s first Zidisha loan, he requested $50 in January 2015. He used this loan to purchase items at wholesale that he could then resell in his shop. He also chose to purchase trendy items that were new to the market because he knew these would be products in high demand.

For his second loan, he borrowed $99 from Zidisha lenders in April 2015. With this loan, he knew that the rainy season was coming up so he made sure to stock up on umbrellas which he knew he could buy for $1 and then sell for $4. He purchased other items including: rain coats, shoes, jewelry, and wedding gowns.

Burhan Ebrahimji 3

A few months later, Burhan secured a third Zidisha loan of $185 to break into the phone accessories market. This side of his business he operates from home and he sells these phone accessory products to both businesses and individuals. His stock includes: batteries, phone covers, bluetooth speakers, glass protectors, back covers, tablet covers, and phone chargers. He is able to advertise via social media and is pleased with the growth that he has seen with this part of the business.

Burhan mentioned how this has impacted his life in a positive way, ‘And also by running my new business it has helped my wife earn a job by her running the boutique and supply business has also changed the life of my family and for this I am also grateful to the entire Zidisha team and lenders.’

Burhan Ebrahimji 4

By October of 2015, his phone accessories business was prospering and he once again found himself needing to increase his inventory. For this loan, he requested $359 from Zidisha lenders in order to buy larger quantities of each of his products. This stock included many of the same items that he had purchased with previous loans as well as a few new items such as: external hard disks, earpieces, memory cards, car earpiece headsets, playstation controllers, and office desk phones.

Burhan noted that entrepreneurship has really become a family affair as his wife is now running the clothing business while he operates his phone accessories business. It is through the support of Zidisha and Zidisha lenders that they’ve been able to increase their inventory for both businesses.

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In June of 2016, he was ready for another loan of $541 to purchase some new high tech products. With this loan, Burhan purchased, smart watches, Samsung power banks, and Samsung wireless chargers. He mentioned that his business is growing quickly and that his customers are requesting these products and he is happy to meet their requests. In May of 2017, Burhan requested his largest and most recent loan of $803 where he once again increased his supply of phone accessories and other technology products.

On Oct 20, 2016, Burhan was pleased to update lenders with this update, ‘Good afternoon Zidisha Team & Lenders. Business is doing great. Thank God. Even my family is fine and my son is going to school. This week I paid for his books & we are on holiday today at home relaxing and tomorrow back to work. Thanks once again.

Burhan Ebrahimji 8

On May 11, 2017, Burhan provided lenders with an exciting update on his discussion page, ‘Thank You Zidisha Team and Lenders. I have been busy this week. It is great and I have also paid 2nd term fees for my son and also Zidisha has improved the life of my family and me. I am enabled to deliver goods to my customers on time and deliver to their location thanks to Zidisha. This time I have a variety of products to sell which boosts sells. Thanks once again Zidisha & Lenders.’

Later in May, he once again took to his discussion page to share with lenders that business was doing great and that things were moving swiftly. He also shared how excited he was about the new smart watches that he had recently introduced into his business.

It’s evident that 2017 is turning out to be a great year for Burhan in all aspects of his life. His business is doing well, he has been getting new clients, his wife has been successfully running the clothing store, and most importantly, his son is in school and has started KG 1. He is never short on thank you’s to the Zidisha team as he says, ‘Thank you once again Zidisha Team & Lenders.’

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Would you like to support a business and family like Burhan’s? Check out our lend page to find other incredible entrepreneurs.

A Community Worth Feeding

George Omolo 3

By Betsy Ramser Jaime

 George Omolo loves to help and serve his family, customers, and community. He is married with three children and when he is not busy at work in his business, he is often found watching documentaries, spending time outdoors, and spending time with local orphans and rescued children at a nearby children’s home.

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Although his current life sounds ideal, it took time and trying a variety of jobs to find his way. Initially, he had enrolled in a banking program but was forced to drop out due to financial constraints. He also held a few temporary jobs before deciding to use the little savings he had to take a chance on entrepreneurship.

He started by doing research in the field of fish supply and he talked to people who were already in the business. He notes that things were challenging at first, but now business has gradually picked up. He loves that he has found some business groups where each member can share ideas, motivate each other, and empower the community.

In his business, he supplies fish and chicken to small and medium hotels and restaurants in Nairobi. He began on a small scale by supplying fish to one small restaurant. A month later he was able to secure partnerships with three more restaurants. He also discovered that there was a huge demand for chicken and chicken products, which is how he found himself adding chicken to his stock.

George Omolo 2

George requested his first Zidisha loan of $50 in May 2014. With this loan, combined with some of his savings, he hoped to buy a cooler box for transporting his goods to customers. He knew that this would be a more hygienic way to transport his meat products compared to his previous method of packing his goods in polythene papers and paper boxes.

For his second loan, he requested $149 in July 2014. He used this loan to increase his stock of supplies as he found that his business was growing. Soon afterward, he acquired another loan in September 2014 for the amount of $443. During this time, the prices of fish and chicken were on the rise, which meant that he needed a larger investment to maintain or grow his level of stock.

In February 2015, George decided to try something new by introducing fresh fish float bladder and fish maws to his inventory. He conducted some research that this would require an investment of $640 in order to procure a license from the ministry of fisheries, buy inventory of fresh fish maws, as well as purchasing packaging materials and paying for transportation costs.

 For his fifth Zidisha funded loan, he requested $922. With this loan he was able to print business stationary, purchase a large stock of fish and chicken, as well as keep a small fund to account for any unforeseen expenses in the near future. He predicted that his profit margins would be somewhere between 8-15%.

On July 30, 2015, George took to his discussion page to share with lenders the amazing impact that Zidisha has had on his business and family. He said, ‘The Zidisha funding has helped me improve my business, and the living condition of my family. I still look forward to borrowing from Zidisha, and being part of this team that is transforming lives in developing countries. This is one of the best things that has ever happened in my life.’

The following year, in May 2016, George found that he was ready for another loan to expand his product offerings once again. This time he requested $1,392 in order to pay for a lenders protection fund and to increase his stock of fresh fish, capon, beef, minced meat, and mutton. With this loan and new products, he anticipated making a profit of 15-20%. He determined that this would allow him to repay his loan, meet his personal expenses, and also retain a reasonable profit.

Later that year, George was excited to share another update with lenders, ‘The loan I borrowed from Zidisha has been of much help to me. I have been able to run my business smoothly and be able to provide for my family. I am still looking forward to working with you and improving our lives. Thank you and thank you again.’

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For George’s most recent loan in November 2016 he requested $1,390 but unlike previous loans, this one was for his family rather than his business. He says, ‘My daughter sat for her exam this month. She will be joining a secondary school in January. She’s a very bright, and a hardworking girl, and I would like her to have a good education so that she may achieve her dreams.’

George Omolo 1

He was able to break this loan down for lenders including: a tuition fee of $820, uniforms and bedding for $225, a games kit for $90, stationary for $70, and $45 for other expenses.

Most recently, on May 18, 2017 he provided an update on how things are progressing. He noted that on his own, the school fee would have been a huge burden for himself and his family to pay all at once. With the help of Zidisha lenders his daughter is now in school and is doing well.

‘Thank you Zidisha and Zidisha lenders for helping me take my daughter to school.’

Would you like to make a difference in the life of another family or community, check out our lend page to learn about our other incredible borrowers.







A $50 Difference


By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Dennis Kipkurui is a man of many talents. While he currently operates a variety of businesses in numerous industries, it all began with a single mission. Dennis was the third child in a family of six and being raised by a single mother, he knew he wanted to grow his business in order to repay his mother for everything that she had done for him.

As a child, he attended Moi Primary and Secondary School and later joined Mount Kenya University where he received a diploma in IT. For the past few years he has worked as a cyber owner and attendant specializing in computer programming, and software and repairs.

Through his business he offers a variety of services including: internet services, printing and photocopy, as well as money transactions through m-pesa. He is able to operate the business year round and being located in a busy market centre provides an attractive location for customers.

His typical fixed expenses consist of: rent, electricity, and internet. On his about page, he does a great job of outlining specific details regarding how much he is able to charge for each service, how often he can operate, and what his typical occupancy is as well as specific information for each income stream.

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Dennis sought out his first Zidisha funded loan in December of 2014 where he asked for $50. He used this first loan to purchase more printing paper and to buy ink for his laser jet printer.

Seven months later, Dennis found that he was in need of another loan from Zidisha lenders. This time he asked for $46 in order to add some snack and beverage items that he could sell in his shop including: small sodas, biscuits, and queen cakes.

Never afraid to diversify and add new offerings, Dennis found himself requesting a third loan of $45 in September of 2015. With this loan he opened a small kiosk shop selling products such as, ‘sugar, rice, and oil. By purchasing items at wholesale prices, he knew that he could then sell each item for a nice profit. In November he expressed his appreciation for Zidisha when he said, ‘I take this opportunity to thank this organization for making me part of this family, it’s one of it’s kind. I see the loan as a blessing since it will help my business grow. Thank you for your continuous generosity.’

As his kiosk business grew, he sought another loan in January 2016 for $90 in which he purchased more supplies to resell. Similar to his previous loan he increased his stock of sugar, rice, cooking oil, and two sacks of fertilizer as well.

In April of 2016, Dennis requested another loan of $182 and with this loan he envisioned expanding the fertilizer sales side of his business. He decided to purchase 6 bags at 40 pounds each. Dennis describes that where he lives, on the outskirts of Eldoret, most people are farmers. From his perspective, this was why adding the sale of fertilizer to his shop was a smart business move.

Living in a farming community has also given him a greater understanding of the importance of rain and it’s impact on the local economy. For example, he tells lenders, ‘I pay much closer attention to the rains. Here, the timing and volume of the rains can make the difference between hunger and surplus—so rains are a regular topic of conversation, and a source of much anxiety, speculation, and celebration. I like this because it’s a reminder of our basic humanity and vulnerability.’

Most recently, Dennis requested a loan of $400 in May 2017. While many of us would struggle to maintain a single business, it’s inspiring that Dennis has been able to add so many new segments to his business that started as a small cyber café. He has also been timely in repaying each of his Zidisha loans while maintaining a repayment rate of 90% or above.

With this loan he was able to purchase 2 cows and now he has a total of 5 cows. In addition, he has also been able to clear his entire stock of fertilizers. He is excited to continue to purchase even more fertilizer to sell as it is planting season and fertilizer is in high demand. His goal is to purchase 23 more bags to re-sell in smaller quantities.

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With this loan request he also sends a kind greeting to lenders from himself and his family, ‘Let me once again say thank you to my dear lenders for trusting me with the loan, my family also sends greetings your way.’

He is hopeful that he will be able to use the profits from his fertilizer sales to purchase 2 motor bikes for a boda boda business. This is also an exciting prospect for Dennis because it means that he will be looking to hire two employees to operate the boda boda’s and in turn this means that two more members of his community will be able to feed their families.

After this loan, Dennis shared with lenders, ‘I have since noticed my life has changed, especially in the sense that I have been able to consistently feed my family ever since. Zidisha is the one and only organization with lenders who care to improve lives. Asante Sana!!!! Meaning thank you very much.’

A few weeks later he also mentioned this wonderful update, Thank you so much all lenders and Zidisha at large. My daughter and my two beautiful girls will be able to go to school.’

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It’s incredible that what started with a $50 Zidisha loan is today a business portfolio that consists of: a cyber café, a small kiosk with snack, beverages, and other cooking staples, fertilizer sales, and an emerging boda boda business. Through this, Dennis is able to support both his lovely family and his community as well.

If you would like to help another family like Dennis’s, head on over to our Lend page to read about our other amazing borrowers to make a difference today.


Fashioning a Better Life

Alice 1

By Betsy Ramser Jaime

Alice Wachira was the first born child who, at age 5, was handed over to her father’s twin brother, as his wife could not bear him any children. Life was pretty good for her until her uncle decided to remarry six years later. After that, life became very difficult for Alice. During this time, she often went to school hungry, slept hungry, and as a result, her grades suffered, and she eventually had to withdraw. Fortunately, she was still able to sit for her KCPE and she scored a high enough grade to proceed to secondary school and then to college.

While some people allow negative experiences to hold them captive, this was not the case for Alice. For Alice, these experiences changed the trajectory of her life in a positive way. She notes that, ‘this experience gave me a sense of independence. Today, together with two other friends, we have embarked on assisting kids with special needs in my home village primary school. I feel this is one way of giving back to the community.’

She now has a beautiful family of her own with a husband and as the mother of two children. Her daughter is sixteen and aspires to be a marine pilot in the future. She also has a son who is seven years old and while he is not exactly sure what he wants to do, he certainly has a liking for the work that his father does in the construction industry. It is clear that Alice will do whatever she can to assist her children in achieving their dreams.

Before jumping into entrepreneurship, Alice worked in a welding workshop. However, she found that not having prior experience combined with the male dominated environment made it a challenging place for her to work. Knowing that welding was not an ideal fit for her, she made the decision to open her own boutique.

When Alice discovered Zidisha, she had been operating her boutique for five years. She primarily sells ladies and children’s clothing. She has found that children’s clothing is a good market because children quickly outgrow their clothing and need new clothing often. The primary costs in her business include: stock, rent, licenses, electricity, and transport. Fortunately, through her sales she is able to pay her expenses, keep her stock replenished, and keep some money in her savings.

Alice decided to seek her first Zidisha funded loan in August 2015 and asked for $150 to add more stock to her business. At this time, she was preparing for the busiest time of the season and she wanted to make sure that she had a wide selection for her customers. One aspect that is so impressive about Alice is that she cares deeply about giving back to her community.

A few months later, she returned to Zidisha lenders to request a second loan of $298 in December. She looked forward to obtaining this loan to buy a desktop computer for her business records. In addition, she hoped to expand her stock of kids clothes as well. As she was approaching another busy season for retail, she knew this would be crucial.

As noted previously, Alice also uses her business profits as a way to give back to the local primary school. She and two other friends have a joint project where they buy school uniforms for the children. In January, she hoped to buy 13 new uniforms for the children. On January 7, 2016, Alice reported on her discussion page regarding her recent loan, ‘This led to increased profits of 40%. With this I will increase my stock and contribute to partial payment of my son’s school fees. This assures me of continued business as well as family matters running smoothly. Thanks you lenders.’

In May 2016, Alice sought her next Zidisha funded loan of $472 to add more children’s clothing to her stock. She believed that this would help boost her sales and would in turn make a profit of $100 per week. She was also motivated by the fact that with her increase in profits she would be able to pay for an accounting course for her daughter as she prepared to attend university. She also determined that a printer for her computer ($140) and a photocopier ($150) would also be smart additions to her business to help with documentation.

Alice's Daughter, Stephanie

Alice’s Daughter, Stephanie

Unfortunately, Alice’s father became very ill, so rather than purchasing her photocopier as she had hoped, she used part of her loan to pay for her father’s medical bills while he was in the hospital. As of July, 2016 he is out of the hospital.

Her most recent loan of $704 in March 2017 was her largest yet. With this loan she hoped to diversify her stock by adding more children’s clothing, as well as adding women’s handbags and ladies clothing. Because of the medical expenses that she incurred, she had not been able to buy the copier machine as she had intended with her last loan. The new copier would be purchased with this loan.

A few months later, Alice was proud to announce that she had enrolled her daughter in the Bsc Industrial Mathematics course at the university. While life hasn’t always been easy for Alice she notes that, ‘I am sincerely grateful to Zidisha because even in the toughest of times they stand with us. God bless you and your family.’

Most recently, she updated lenders with this heartfelt news, ‘Below is Njoroge a man I met years back. He is physically challenged. In my small way I managed to purchase food stuff to last at least 2 months. Thank you Zidisha. You taught me to trust and to share.’

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We can all learn from Alice’s example that regardless of the size of our bank account, we all have the ability to help those around us.

Did Alice’s story resonate with you? If so, check out our lend page to impact another family and community.


Don’t Keep All Your Eggs in One Basket


By Betsy Ramser Jaime

John Thiaro entered the world of entrepreneurship out of necessity. After working for a few companies that closed due to the recession, he knew that he needed to look for a new path.

His entrepreneurial journey began as a poultry farmer. He determined that poultry was a good starting point because free-range chickens do not require much and are resistant to most diseases. He has a loving family comprised of his wife Mercy and two daughters named Kathy and Emmy. His firstborn, Kathy, is seven years old and would like to be a pilot someday, and his younger daughter, Emmy, is five years old and hopes to be a doctor when she grows up. Some of John’s favorite activities include traveling and nature expeditions. He especially loves ornithology, bird watching.

In May of 2015 John raised his first Zidisha-funded loan of $100 which he used to buy 100 chicks, chicken feed, vaccinations, and materials to build a small building for his chicks. Right now John has about 800 chickens but started with less than 200 when he joined Zidisha. He says, ‘through the loans that I acquired from Zidisha, I have been able to expand my business progressively.’ His Zidisha=funded loans have allowed him to make this his full-time job, even employing another person to assist him in the business.

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Bn September 2015, he was ready for a second loan of $200 to expand his business. With this loan he purchased a manual feed mixing machine, weighing scale, and raw materials. He thoroughly researched the best chicken feed formulation to ensure that he could cut the cost of production by 70-75%. The raw materials were comprised of cotton seed cake, sunflower, maize germ, wheat bran, premix, D.C.P., salt, and sorghum. He anticipated that with this loan he could expect to earn $30-40 weekly from the sale of feeds, and a similar amount from the sale of eggs from his chickens.

In March of 2016, John procured his third Zidisha loan of $383 which he used to buy a water tank. He knew this would be a good investment for a few reasons. First, before this loan, he had to buy water located 3 km away and haul it to his farm, which meant that he spent a significant amount of time traveling back and forth. In addition, he could use the money that he had been spending on water to put towards buying cows in the future. Finally, he knew that the water tank would be a much needed asset in the future as he added cows to his farming portfolio. With a water tank he is now able to collect water for both domestic consumption and in his poultry business.

After this third loan, John was happy to share an update with his lenders, ‘The project has not only made me be able to put food on the table, it has enabled me to take my young girls to school.’ He also was pleased to mention that his profits have been steadily increasing and his wife, Mercy, has also been able to start her own clothing shop in their neighborhood.

As John prepared for his fourth Zidisha loan in August of 2016, he provided lenders with this update: ‘The water tank has been of tremendous benefit for me and my family as this enabled us to collect safe drinking water at an arm’s length. This obviously reduced the waterborne diseases like diarrhea and cholera. The second and most important was that my poultry business improved because at no time did my chicken lack water. This in turn increased the number of eggs/birds and the growth rate was very fast and I was able to make more profits. I had projected that I wanted to have about 300 chickens by the end of 2016 but, I would like to report that by June 2016 I had 420 mature chickens and lots of chicks. I therefore collect approximately 8 trays (240 eggs) of fertilized eggs on a daily basis.’

John Thiaro 1

On January 24, 2017 John shared an inspiring and heartfelt message of how Zidisha has impacted him. He mentioned, ‘The Zidisha concept is a stand-alone for me and a lot of families and individuals especially in countries like ours in Africa. Our youth and the general population are enabled academically but the opportunities are very few compared to the number of needy people. Zidisha organization through the administration and the good and trustworthy lenders have made our lives valid and purposeful.Thank you so much and honestly, my personal life and that of my family has completely changed for the better.’

For this fourth loan he requested $827 to purchase an Automatic Egg Incubator which would enable him to operate a one-stop shop for poultry. As John says, ‘Don’t keep all your eggs in one basket.’ This new incubator would allow him to adjust the humidity, temperature, turn the eggs, and produce chicks on a weekly basis.


In March 2017 John provided lenders with an inspiring update, ‘Through incubation alone, I was able to increase my profits by more than 50%.’ At this point, he was faced with the problem of transportation. He knew he could rely on Zidisha lenders when he requested his largest loan yet of $1,463 to purchase a motorcycle. He had been spending $100 a month towards transportation costs, and knew that with his own transportation he could transport his feed, eggs, chicks, and chickens as well as using it to take his two girls to and from school.

In March of this year, John shared what he has learned through his experience with Zidisha, ‘To be honest, I never knew such an opportunity might occur in my life, to be able to get loans and repay without the hassles that are associated with the banking industry. Zidisha has taught me the discipline of borrowing and repaying and doing projects as a business – with profits being the driving force; opening opportunities and being able to live by means and at the same times honoring my debt obligations!’

If you were inspired by John’s story make sure to head on over to our loans page and help make a difference in the life of another entrepreneur.