Stories From the Field

Esther Wanja, 38, is a beacon of hope for other women in her community. She joined Street Business School in September 2018 and today runs three businesses.

When she joined SBS, Esther was a single mother, working nights in a fish factory, earning $1.50 per day. All of the responsibilities of income-earning and child-rearing lay on her shoulders. After completing her SBS training, she started a business selling Mandazi (snacks) to her fellow factory works and immediately started saving what she earned. During the day, instead of resting from a long night of work, Esther continued selling snacks in her community. Her hard work quickly paid off and she was able to save money.

Esther did not stop there. She purchased two boda bodas (motorcycles) and rents them out for transportation around her community. Through that business she earns $6 per day in income  She also noticed that women entrepreneurs in her community were using loans to run their businesses and wanted to make it easier for them. Many were struggling to pay the loans back due to the high-interest rates and collateral requirements. So she started a small micro-finance business that provides loans to women entrepreneurs. She asks only for an identification card, photo and guarantor letter. And, she charges a 5% interest rate. She has already given loans to eight women in her community and several other women are in process.

SBS ignited potential and hope in Esther.  Her children are getting a good education and their mother is a role model who translated what she learned into sustainable businesses. It is exciting to see how Esther has realized her potential and is making change happen for herself and her family.

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