Samuel 'Snow' Mburu, Kenya
Samuel Mburu (famously known as ‘Snow’ in his neighbourhood) is a well-known and well-liked photographer and egg-supplier in Kairi village, Kenya. When I approach him to request an interview he gladly invites me to his house, excited to share his story with me. He starts by saying how grateful he is to his Trust Group for how it has nurtured him to financial freedom.
Samuel explains that he was brought up in a not so well off family; his parents were unable to pay for his education after he had completed his O-Levels. Instead, at the age of 15, when he had finished his exams, Samuel decided to turn a hobby into a business by venturing into photography professionally. With help from his parents, he was able to acquire a simple camera and began going door-to-door in his village taking photos of people who were interested. From all the family photos in his house, the love he has for photography is evident. Peak days for Samuel are weekends and holidays such as Christmas but business is good all year round.
When samuel met five talents
In 2006, Samuel got married to his lovely wife, who was a teacher until she chose to stop working after they had their first child. For a while, he was able to provide for his wife and child single-handedly but as his family grew, Samuel began to feel the financial strain. Luckily, it was during this period that he learnt about the Gakui FSA, a programme run by one of Five Talents’ partners in his local church. After attending a meeting, Samuel gladly joined and began saving. After a period of one year, he had saved nearly 35,000 ksks (£270) and was able to take his first loan of 70,000 KShs (£540). With this loan, Samuel acquired a new camera worth 35,000 KShs and with the remaining amount he purchased a flock of chicks for his wife who could tend to them at home as she takes care of the children.
With the new camera, Samuel is able to take higher quality photos which has, in turn, led to more customers. When we spoke in July 2016, he had customers from all over his community who call on him to take pictures and video coverage of their events. He also told me that his family currently has 500 hens which supply eggs to a large number of customers who visit his wife’s home-based shop front.
where next for samuel and his family?
Samuel puts his success down to the business management skills taught by his Trust Group. He says that being in the group has enabled him to create good networks (indeed, many of his customers come from the group) and provides a space where the members can share tips on subjects ranging from the best chicken feeds to improving customer relations. He also proudly states that his wife is now able to make a serious financial contribution to the family since she is the one who tends to the chicken and handles the supply of eggs.
Looking to the future, Samuel says that he anticipates growth in both of his family’s two ventures. He dreams of owning his own video shooting and editing company and hopes to continue to add to his flock of chicken so that he can be the leading egg supplier within his locality and beyond.
This interview was conducted by James, a member of staff from the Thika CDT team in Kenya. Find out more about how you can support entrepreneurs like Samuel, either as an individual giver or as an organisation.