For many long years, Angelo worked in the Nairobi Industrial Area as a laborer, away from his wife Elas and three children—one in seventh grade and twins in third grade. He’d send a small amount of money home to help his family, but it wasn’t enough. At home, a small plot of land in the village of Magacha, finances were tight. Elas had a small kiosk at market where she sold a few items just to help her family survive.
In 2002, Angelo moved home to be with his family. Then he met us. In a nearby market, we had set up a village bank, run much like a member-owned credit union. Angelo bought five shares in the bank, called Kigumo FSA. And he joined our Mwikuria (“self-development”) group, where he began learning about business.
He was laying the groundwork for earning a living in an area he’d previously been unable to support his family. With a loan of $85, Angelo built a small shop and worked on building a business catering to local villagers. It worked. With a steady stream of new customers, he made enough profit to pay back the loan and buy more stock.
But Angelo was just beginning to innovate. With a second loan of $140, Angelo bought a milk cow. The family had milk to drink and, in another year, a calf! The family sold milk to neighbors. With the loan paid back, things were looking good. Angelo was able to begin saving.
In early 2005, with a loan of $210 and his savings, Angelo built a brick house for his family and a duka (shop) where Elas now sells her goods. Business was good, and less than a year later, Angelo was able to gain another loan of $250—this one to fulfill a dream Elas had for a well. Now, she no longer draws water from a river two kilometers away.
Angelo is well-respected in his community, and his neighbors elected him to be a regional representative at the bank. The family no longer struggles on the edge of survival. And three children have their Dad back to stay.