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From Grass Patch to Bustling Shop

Updated: Apr 24

What used to be a grass patch is now a bustling shop, where Mashirima has to constantly attend to her numerous customers.

In only 5 months, Mashirima has completely transformed her life thanks to the skills training from the Fanikisha Program, which is a business women support program by Kianda Foundation. The program trains women in business skills, life skills and mentorship. Fanikisha also supports the women enrolled with counselling services through the help of professional counsellors. Before joining other women for the training sessions, Mashirima was a casual laborer earning Ksh 300 per day, and this was when she was lucky enough to find work. With this little income, it was difficult for her to sustain her family’s daily needs, who were relying on her to support them. When she couldn't find work, Mashirima spent her days doing housework, farming a small vegetable patch and napping for 3 hours every afternoon. Her home situation really discouraged her and led to a depression which she didn't even realize she had.

Mashirima with a customer

Mashirima heard about The Kianda Foundation's Fanikisha program training at her local church, where they announced the course. She enrolled and started attending classes in June 2022. However, because of her state of mind, she was unable to concentrate in class. She was in desperate need of counselling. Thankfully, as part of the program, there are counsellors available to listen to the women during the training sessions.

“I spent much of my first session with Grace the counsellor crying. But at the end, I felt unburdened—as though a great weight had been lifted off my back. The session made it possible for me to focus what was being taught and think clearly again”.

After a month of training and a number os counselling sessions, Mashirima took a Kshs.50,000 loan, which she used to construct a small kiosk in the grass patch behind her home and purchase her initial stock. She has stocked a variety of different vegetables including potatoes, maize, cabbages, peas and more. In addition, she used online marketing learnt from the training and posted photos of her wares on WhatsApp. She immediately started getting orders. As she made profits, she gradually doubled and even tripled her initial stock. She has now diversified her offerings and in now selling commodities like cooking oil, flour, milk, airtime. In addition, she prepares and sells lunches to construction workers from sites close to her home.

Mashirima outside her shop (we have advised her to brand it as part of her future plans)

Mashirima, who was previously disheartened and withdrawn, is now vibrant, happy and driven. She is also a climate champion who recycles any vegetable waste by feeding what couldn't be sold to her farm animals, keeping the cost of feeds down. All other organic waste is used as manure on her farm.

She attributes her success to the Fanikisha Program which has helped her gain skills such as profit and loss calculation, time management, record keeping and effective use of loans. She teaches other women what she has learnt through the training, and encourages them to sign up.

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