NAME:  Shelmith Wangari

PROJECT:  Kiawara Women and Children in Stress Project

DATE:  April 2014

My name is Shelmith Wangari a resident of Majengo slums in Nyeri town. I am a 49 year old single mother of three. I also live with my late sister’s two children and my aged mother. Before the intervention by the NCCK microfinance/revolving fund project in 2005, I was a casual laborer at The Nyeri Provincial Hospital where I used to earn Kshs. 5500 per month. The money was not enough to cater for the needs of the five children I was living with together with my ailing mother. Often times we had very little food and I was not able to cater for the children school fees especially when they got to High School.

After joining the project, I was trained on business management e.g how to display or market the goods. The project encouraged us to save on weekly basis and I complied and I was given the first loan of kshs.3,000/-.  I have continued saving and getting loans as per my savings and currently am in the 5th  phase of kshs.40,000/-. I have utilized the proceeds from the business to venture into sell second hand clothes,  water vendor, and a small café.

 I have built 5 semi-permanent rental houses in the slum that generate up to kshs.25,000/- monthly. This is a remarkable improvement from my earlier salary of Kshs. 5,500 per month that I used to earn.

I have seen great improvements in my living standards. Today, I can afford clean piped water at my doorstep, I own a house and I am comfortably able to adequately provide for the basic needs of my children, my diseased sister’s children and my elderly mother. I managed to take one of my sons to a Polytechnic where he obtained a certificate in electrical engineering and today, he works with The Kenya Power and he can now provide for himself and his family. I take this chance to thank the NCCK because they gave partial sponsorship to my son Ibrahim Wachira in 2005 to undertake a course in carpentry and now he owns a workshop.  From the workshop proceeds, he gets income to meet his basic need.  I was also able to take my sisters children through secondary school and also support my ailing mother.

In the future, I plan to install electricity to the rental houses as this will help bring in more money. I also plan to buy my son electric machinery that will boost his carpentry business.

The major challenge that I have faced is fluctuating market trends but I trust in God for the future.  The project has been very beneficial to me as it has helped me move from grass to grace. I would recommend that if funds are available, the amount of loans be increased as this will enable me venture into bigger and more profitable investments.