$50 means the world to Margret, who risks her business going under by allowing families to buy in credit so that their children won’t go hungry. Margret, one of our Wezesha Business Skills Program participants, was running a successful grocery store until COVID-19 hit.
Location: New Canaan
3 words her friends use to describe her: Hard-working, kind and ambitious
Margret was born in Kericho, a region located in the highlands west of the Kenyan Rift Valley. She was the first born in a family of 4. Her parents were casual labourers in a nearby tea estate. They used to struggle to put food on the table, let alone put their children through education.
Margret’s childhood dream to become a doctor was shattered when she had to drop out of school at Form 2. She started doing manual jobs and eventually saved some money to start a small business in Kericho town. She was doing well with her business until 2007/2008, when post-election violence forced her into exile.
Margret became one of the 600,000 internally displaced persons in Kenya. Eventually, she settled in New Canaan Village. Just like the rest of the women in the village, Margret had lost all her household items and, of course, her stock. There were no jobs available, so she was forced to depend on donations to feed her family.
So They Can recognised that the dilapidating condition that village families like Margret’s were living in was mostly due to lack of job opportunities. So, after careful planning, and with the important support of our generous donors, we started our Wezesha Business Skills Program (WBSP) in 2012. This unique program gives local women the opportunity to acquire important business skills, micro-finance and business mentorship, so they can kick start their own businesses.
Margret was amongst the first group of women who participated in WBSP. She went through the business training and was later advanced $120 in 2012. At the time, Margret and her family were living in a tent and sleeping on the floor. But that didn’t stop her from opening up a green grocer shop, and working tirelessly to make ends meet.
Finally her hard work was rewarded and the business began to flourish. Her husband later joined her to work at the shop; he was in charge of sourcing vegetables from far-away markets, before bringing them back to the green grocer where Margret would sell them on to the community for a fair price.
Margret’s green grocer developed a great reputation and soon customers were travelling from other villages to shop there. She grew her business to become one of the most successful businesses in the village. When we asked Margret what the best advice she ever received was, she answered:
“Never give up in life and to always pursue my dreams.”
Clearly Margret lives by these words every day.
Sadly, like so many entrepreneurs around the world, COVID-19 has hit Margret’s business hard. Life has become very expensive and there are no jobs, meaning many of Margret’s customers can’t afford to come to her. Margret is left in an impossible situation: “Some are buying in credit because they don’t have money. I fear that my business may go down due to these debts, but if I don’t sell to them, their children might sleep hungry.”
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As families like Margret’s and her customers’ struggle to make ends meet, $50 can go a long way to providing them with emergency food relief during these hard times. Please give today.