The Store That Savings Built – Kenya

-A special report from Janet Karsgaard, Senior Program Officer, World Relief Canada

Six weeks after Mary’s village savings and loans group started, Mary accessed her first loan.Her group was very cautious, so they would only approve loans for a term of one month.

Taking a loan was also a new experience for Mary, so at first she didn’t invest her money in a business. She used her funds to meet her household needs and then made sure each loan was repaid early.

Courage to invest
After several months of taking and repaying monthly loans, Mary built up enough courage to invest in items to sell. Bit by bit, Mary added to her inventory of household necessities (matches, rice, beans and soap) that she could easily sell to her neighbours.

Now, after only 7 months as a savings group member, Mary makes inventory purchases twice a week and is building a small brick kiosk near her house for her new business.

Mary will sell stock from her home until her kiosk is finished. She’s very thankful for her savings group which allowed her to take the risk of becoming a small business owner. Her husband has been supporting her and sometimes helps her with transporting her inventory.

In fact, Mary’s husband so believes in her ability and thinks her savings group is a good investment that on the weeks that she doesn’t have enough money, he gives her what’s she’s short so she can buy the maximum weekly savings investment. Mary really enjoys being a small business owner and wants to keep adding new items to her inventory.