Village Hopecore has had astounding success with our self-help groups. With loans of just $350, members have increased their income by as much as 500%. Among the members who were below the poverty line, $1.50 per day, all increased their income enough to lift themselves out of poverty.
We believe the Village Hopecore program is achieving amazing results, and we have the stories to prove it!
Beth Njue, of the Mwende Group, and her husband live on a family compound near her father-in-law. Her husband is a school teacher. She operates the farm on the family compound. Prior to receiving her microloan, she purchased a calf with the 1200 Schillings she received from her group during the Merry-go-Round period. The family already had one cow, a sheep, 2 goats, chickens and was growing corn, bananas, avocados and napier grass, which is used for cattle feed. She used her loan to purchase a small motor to operate a machine that cuts corn stalks, sugar cane, and napier grass into more readily digestible cattle feed. The use of this machine reduces the time needed to cut the grass to 15 minutes per day. This leaves her with more time to spread cattle manure on the crops to increase production, and for performing other farm chores. She also used some of the microloan to buy more chickens, resulting in more eggs for family use and for sale. The generator also allows her family to have electric lights in the home, enabling her two sons to more easily read and do their school lessons. With a 30% increase in income, she is able to pay the required school fees for her two sons.
Mary Nyaga, a member of the Mwende Group, used her microloan to purchase a wood-fired commercial oven and baking trays to start a commercial baking business. Working in a shed adjacent to her home, she bakes and delivers muffins and other bread products to three local markets four days a week. She also makes specialty cakes to order for weddings, birthdays, and other special occasions. Before the microloan, the family’s primary income source was the sale of any farm produce not used in the home. Her husband is the primary caretaker of the farm. With the microloan her household income has doubled as a result of her baking business.
Blandina Gatakaa, is chairwoman of the Mutethia group as well as pastor of her small, local congregation, which is located about 3.5 miles from central Chogoria. She used her microloan to supplement her small stipend as pastor and her farm income by building and stocking a small kiosk (shop) with the items her neighbors most frequently needed. This saves her neighbors the long walk either to a kiosk at the junction with the main highway, or having to go to Chogoria, which is two miles away. She has doubled her income, which has allowed her to hire one part time helper for her farm. This is enabling her to devote more time to her pastoral responsibilities.
Bridget Karimi, a member of Miracle group and mother of seven (7) children, used to sell farm crops at her home outside Chogoria. In July 2008, with her microloan she rented a plot of land on Chogoria’s main street where she constructed a large kiosk from which she sells corn, pineapples, onions, string beans, arrowroot, avocados, cabbage, macadamia nuts, mixed beans and yams. Much of what she sells is purchased from neighboring farms, and then resold at a higher price “in town”. She intends to rent half of her kiosk to someone else, which will further increase her income. Pictured with Bridget is Steve Beck, member of the VHI Board of Directors, who was visiting the VHI microloan program.
Lucy Mwenda, a member of the Mwicki group, is almost finished repaying her second microloan. She used the microloan to purchase lumber and construct a kiosk from which she sells basic necessities to nearby farm families who regularly pass by her farm. This has resulted in a 47% rise in her household income. With the additional household income, her husband has begun constructing a bigger home for the family out of cut stone and cement they were able to purchase from the profits from her business.
James Mbaabu reached the mandatory retirement age of fifty-five several years ago and was struggling to meet household expenses on his small pension. He used his microloan to repair old bicycles and then sell them. He also rents out some of the bicycles on a day basis for people needing to transport crops to market from outlying areas. He also repairs lanterns, which he sells to people unable to afford new ones. He is saving some of his profits to purchase a tank of acetylene so he can use his welding skills to make useful items out of the many pieces of scrap metal he has accumulated in his small shop on Chogoria’s main street. His household income has risen a little over 50% since receiving the microloan.
Joyce Gitonga, a member of Miracle Group, operates a small beauty salon in Chogoria. She used her microloan to purchase a beehive style hairdryer, a new hand-held hair dryer, and a large selection of hair extensions. She has hired a part time assistant, which allows her leave her shop to purchase items like hair extensions from another shop. She hopes to eventually employ the assist on a full time basis. Pictured at the shop is Steve Beck’s wife. Steve is a member of the VHI Board of Directors and was visiting the VHI project.
Emily Njagi of the Mwende Group owned a small dry goods shop before receiving her microloan. Her microloan enabled her to acquire the other half of the building she was using, and rent that part to a young man. She also rents an empty space behind her building to a group of women selling used clothing while the municipality is rebuilding the main street and constructing drainage ditches that displaced the used clothing saleswomen. She used part of her microloan to increase her stock, which she has shipped to her by agents fromNairobi. As a result of her hard work and the microloan, her income, which is the third highest in her group, has increased by a third.
Purity Muthoni, a member of Wendani group, will soon complete repayment of her second microloan. she has experienced a 700% increase in income. Her business is selling used clothing from a shop on Chogoria’s main street. Her first microloan was used to stock her shop. With her second loan she began buying bananas from farmers near her home, which she resells at a profit. With the banana sales profits, she has expanded her inventory. Since the majority of local residents cannot afford to purchase new clothing, her shop is usually busy. She is temporarily renting space from Emily Njagi until the road construction work is completed and she can reopen for business at her original location where she is more visible.
Two members of the Kamini Keega group have opened separate restaurants in Chogoria’s main business district, providing employment for others. Both repaid their first microloan and are now early through repaying their second microloan. Dorothy Kagendo opened the Pmoja Hotel where she has three employees. With the second microloan she has added butchery in the front of her restaurant, where her husband helps with roasting meat. She previously added a coke machine and a pastry display cabinet near the restaurant entrance to stimulate sales for people walking by the hotel. Charity Njeri added a room to her restaurant, with tables and chairs, thereby doubling the number of people she can serve at her Mwendano Hotel. She employs five women to help her with cooking and serving customers. Her husband runs butchery nearby. With restaurant profits, she has purchased another cow, whose milk is sold to the local dairy. Any food leftover at the end of the day is taken home to feed to her pigs. The animals and crops on the family farm are cared for by the workers she has hired. Please note that a hotel is the word used inKenya to describe a restaurant.
Silas Marete, a member of the Gianchuku group, used his microloan to purchase materials for constructing a cart. While initially built to transport produce from his farm to market over difficult roads, he soon found interest from his neighbors who now hire him to transport their surplus farm products to Chogoria to sell. His wife and two sons, when they are not in schools tend the farm. His household income has risen 40%.
Click one of the links below to read individual stories and see pictures of members and their microenterprises.