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Esther's Story

Esther Akiru is the mother of 4 children and lives in Nanam village in a hot, dry and dusty part of northern Kenya.

When the drought came, we did not have anything to feed our children so we had to depend on outside help

Esther and her community know too well the desperation that drought brings. She and her husband John Awure have lost most of their livestock during such periods and were therefore dependent on relief food, which is not predictable. Esther said, “When the drought came, we did not have anything to feed our children so we had to depend on outside help”

Their lives began to change for the better when Esther joined in the Nakinae Akiyar (meaning ‘Give Me Life’) Women’s Group. Due to her good leadership skills Esther, despite being illiterate, was elected as the group’s Chairlady. She received training and quickly mobilised 22 women to begin a village savings and loans group.

Esther leads by example. She began saving money with the group and later took a loan of KSH 20,000. Esther and John used the loan to open a small grocery shop. Using their profits from the business they were able to repay the loan.

Reflecting on the change in her life Esther said, “My family was always in debt and I did not know how to repay since I owned nothing. Now, this business has enabled us to afford enough food for our family, pay school fees and buy clothes for our children. Our life has changed for the better”.

Esther and John have big dreams for their business. They said, “We dream of expanding our business now that we know we can do some business. We will borrow a bigger loan and buy additional stock for our shop”.

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Hadijah's Story

Hadijah Saidi is a 48-year-old widow living in the urban district of Kahama, north-west Tanzania. She has six children and two grandchildren. Like many women in the area, Hadijah relies on her small business to provide for her family.

Hadijah had been buying and selling vegetables at her local market but with minimal capital, it was hard to run a profitable business. When she heard about The Salvation Army’s microcredit program, Hadijah and her four friends joined a group and started saving together. They all received entrepreneurial training and mentoring, and also qualified to receive a small loan.

Hadijah said, “I joined the group to make some progress. I needed to be able to expand my business and provide for the needs of my children”.

Hadijah and the group continue to meet and learn from each other. Hadijah business has now expanded and she is able to pay school fees for her children and grandchildren.