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How Covid-19 lifted my Sh1,000 business

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Covid-19 has hit the working class hard. President Uhuru Kenyatta during one of his recent statements warned of 500,000 job losses in six months should Covid-19 persist.

And women bear the brunt of the pandemic as most of them work in the informal sector, the hardest hit by the job cuts.

For Purity Namalwa Nasilwa, however, losing her job was a blessing in disguise.  Instead of drowning in sorrow and self-pity, she used the chance to make a financial comeback.

The 22-year-old sat for her KCSE in 2018, attained a B (Minus) grade, earning her admission to Kenyatta University but lack of school fees did her in.

ACCEPTED FATE

“I had accepted that my life and fate had entered into a coalition to mess me up…Poverty had been hanging around my neck like a guillotine and I had accepted that God’s grace was sufficient for me to enable me live a day at a time,” she says.

Her dream to pursue a course in hospitality went up in smoke when her parents could not afford her campus fees. Countless visits to her Kiharu MP’s office in search of help bore no fruit.

She immersed herself into casual labour in food joints in Murang’a town.

“For one and a half years, she eked a living in Mitura (African sausage) and soup joints, earning between Sh100 and Sh200 as daily wages,” she says.

In the course of toiling to make ends meet, she got pregnant.

PREGNANT AGAIN

“It did not come as a surprise to me. When life seems harsh to you, you get psyched that misfortunes are part of life. I found myself looking forward to giving birth and even expecting to get pregnant again. I cared not a damn…Little did I know I was sinking slowly into depression,” she says.

Then Covid-19 arrived into the country, all food joints in Murang’a were closed and she was jobless!
“Even when Governor Mwangi wa Iria revised the trade sanctions a month later, the damage had already been done since many small businesses had ran out of capital to pay rent and sustain profitability margins,” she says.

With house rent arrears of Sh5, 000 and hunger staring down at her and her baby, Ms Nasilwa knew her life was nearing unbearable limits.

Purity Nasilwa at her business premise in Murang’a County, preparing the immune boosting juice. PHOTO | MWANGI MUIRURI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

She sought help from her mum.

RENT ARREARS

“She gave me Sh1,000. It was a sacrifice since she was also experiencing the vagaries of Covid-19-induced financial hardships. My first instinct was to go shopping for food reserves. But wait; and afterwards? The rent arrears were accumulating,” she got thinking.

She had read, in the Bible, about the mustard seed and how it multiplied to generate wealth. The more she thought along that line, the more she got inspired to devise a way of making that Sh1,000 grow.

“I cracked my head for a strategy. An inspiration from nowhere struck my head and opened my horizons far and wide. I became aware that there was a market craze that was building about natural fruits touted to be immunity boosters against Coronavirus,” she says, adding that “that was my Eureka moment.”

She bought food reserves worth Sh300. She used the balance, Sh700 to buy Sh40 avocadoes, Sh50 pineapple, Sh50 bananas, Sh80 beetroots, Sh100 garlic, Sh50 sugarcane and Sh30 tomatoes.

JUICE BLENDING

“With Sh300 in hand now, I bought some plastic cups and jugs worth Sh200 and the balance of Sh100 became my cash in hand,” she says.

The next stop was at a neighbour’s house who gave her a juice blending machine.
She then approached a friend who runs a cybercafé along Biashara Street of Murang’a town for a space to display her new enterprise on a small wooden table.

“It must have been God’s favour since, from my starting stock, I made about 3,000ml of assorted juices, all of which were bought at Sh1,500 equivalent to a net profit of Sh900!” she says.

While many companies hurt during the coronavirus pandemic, some small businesses like Ms Nasilwa’s are seeing more and more customers by the day.

RELIEF FOOD

“It was too sweet to be true because my sales kept on growing by the day. I have expanded my start-up to include immunity booster uji (porridge) made of organic tuber flour, smooth and fresh juices, detoxes, puddings and salads, “ she says noting that on a bad day, “ I’m guaranteed at least Sh600 as profit.”

She does not require ‘Kazi Mtaani’ or relief food to earn a livelihood since she is self-reliant.

Ms Nasilwa is now more positive about life and says her future is premised on two hopes —either she gets sponsors to see her pursue university education that poverty denied her despite being qualified, or get a breakthrough in her business.

“My greatest lesson in life out of this Covid-19 experience is that not all calamities are bad…Covid-19 pandemic to me was a blessing in disguise. Again, I have come to realise that there is no small money in the hands of a determined mind to multiply it,” she says.

By nation.co.ke

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Business

Optiven Foundation Spreads hope to the vulnerable Amidst Covid Pandemic

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As we gear towards alleviate poverty levels in our society, the Optiven Foundation has reached out to support
FLOMINA children’s home. Located in Nairobi’s Soweto area, the home was the recipient of assorted food stuffs including cereals, pulses and vegetable oil.

More than 65 vulnerable children some who are orphaned , abandoned or living with HIV & AIDs, got reasons to smile courtesy of Optiven Foundation.

As the eyes on the community, the Foundation’s desire is to transform & improve the livelihood of the vulnerable families in our society. This is by offering them support that includes basic food stuff. We thank all those who support the optiven vision of economically and socially empowering the communities

How to Easily Partner & Be a Philanthropist TODAY

1. Support a deserving needy person.
Mpesa Paybill: 898 630.
Account name: Donation

2. https://web.facebook.com/pg/optivenfoundation/reviews ( like our page & drop a comment) if a beneficiary, drop us a review & rate us

For more information reach us on +254 718 776 033 or info@optivenfoundation.org | www.optivenfoundation.org

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Business

What is happening in Amani Ridge the Place of Peace

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Amani Ridge the place of Peace is giving you an opportunity to build your home in a serene, scenic and natural environment.

It remains unparalleled facility with top notch value additions. Perimeter wall, razor wire,solar street lights, a welcoming landscaping work with a beautiful fountain and now a cabro- paved entry to 300 stunning homes to-be.

To become a part of this neighborhood, ensure that you or your friend book soonest from the 23
1/4 acre plots remaining.

Call us now:
0790300300 or 0723400500
Website: www.optiven.co.ke

Experience the difference

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Business

Safe rides: Introducing the all-female taxi

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Say you are a woman, it is 11pm and you need a taxi ride urgently. You may have heard horrendous stories of female passengers in a male driven taxi that makes you recoil and opt to cancel the ride, but you need it, and you are alone.

Getting in the taxi, worry knocks and you start having wild ideas of your escape plan, just in case. You check the child lock and confirm that your phone is charged, before sending a screenshot of your taxi details to a friend – if anything happens, they will have a clue of where to start.

Will it be comforting to say that you are not alone?

This comfort factor for women is in a female chauffeured taxi called An Nisa, a taxi company whose vehicles only carry women and children, limited to pre-teen male.

Fellow women

“I wanted a taxi service that would make women feel comfortable throughout their journey. Women are more maternal and women feel more comfortable being driven by fellow women,” says  Khawlah Habib, founder of An Nisa.

An Nisa, which means women in the Arabic language, is a solution to women and mothers who may have had insecurities when they use other taxi services.

Whilst the analogy of prevention being better than cure is mostly used in medicine, Ms Habib says it perfectly fits her idea of having a female passenger being driven by a woman.

“I did a lot of research and talked to a number of women who narrated their unpleasant experiences, which made me see the need of coming up with a female-only taxi,” says Ms Habib.

When it was launched in 2018, there were more than 1,000 downloads and requests to use their service within a week. Unfortunately, at the time this article was written, the app was under maintenance so all bookings are still made on call.

Affirmative nod

“Men also call me to let me know that the ladies in their lives, or children, would wish to use An Nisa as a mode of transport, and that tells you that the worry is felt by both genders,” says Ms Habib.

An Nisa today, has more than 50 female drivers that work mainly in Nairobi and Mombasa.

It is even a feel-good option for female taxi drivers. Beatrice Wambui, a 30-year-oldwho has been a taxi driver for ten years now, has an affirmative nod for the An Nisa experience.

Ms Wambui juggles between all the online taxi service providers available in Nairobi. But says: “Having an An Nisa client feels safe, because I already know it is a fellow woman coming on board.”

Although she may not be affected much when she uses the other online taxi services, the discrimination starts from the passenger.

“One time I got a client request for my ride, when I accepted the request and they found out that it was a woman behind the wheel, they cancelled, and I felt so bad,” Ms Wambui says.

Late night ride

With An Nisa, she says, the expectation and reality are usually in synchrony. So, once a client calls in, they know that it is a woman who will drive them, so they do not have any reservations because that is what they sign up for.

Ms Habib does not just employ any woman to be her driver.

“I prefer drivers who have driven for a while, say 10 years or more, not less and should comply with all NTSA (National Transport and Safety Authority) requirements.”

And for clients who may want a late night ride, or a very early ride; say to the airport, they make advanced booking so that safety precautions including the driver’s, are considered.

Curfew

“I had to apply for a curfew pass that allows me to pick and drop off clients who travel in the wee hours of the night. With the pandemic, I insist that the client wears a face mask and sits on the back seat,” adds Ms Wambui.

For safety, An Nisa has partnered with Lady Askari, a company that offers protection services to women. The services, just like An Nisa, are provided by female trained security guards.

by nation.africa

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