This blog post was written by Five Talents’ 2019 summer intern Amanda Tuzzo from stories collected in Kenya.
Betty lives in Embu, Kenya. Like many women in Betty’s community, she does her best to care for her two children with profits from livestock she has. Having been introduced to a Five Talents’ Savings & Loans Group, she joined, particularly excited about the opportunity to be trained in record keeping and how to save money. Betty was excited when her group began loaning to one another, and with thanks to her peers, she was able to take out her first loan.
Betty used her loan to establish a business selling clothes near her home. Today neighbours, church members and many others in her community stop by her stand, and it is growing with more products! Betty is even using some of her proceeds to benefit her community - sometimes she uses her profits to visit and support community members in times of sickness and bereavement.
Unfortunately, drought is able to affect even a budding clothes merchant! Betty has found that drought during the dry season is causing some customers to prioritise buying their food, leaving them less money to spend on her clothes. This makes Betty’s business challenging, but the financial management training she received in her Five Talents’ group taught her to save some of her profits so she is sustaining her family through the difficult times.
Even through the difficulties, Betty feels her business has positively influenced her life in many ways. She feels she is a better mother now saying, “I kept depending on my husband to feed us and meet our needs, but now I can pay for medicine, feed my family, and send my children to school.”
The success of her business, and continued Group meetings, have encouraged her to socialise with the other women in her community and attend more church activities. Best of all, Betty’s been able to open her own bank account for the first time.