From Hawker to Boss

For a home with eighteen children to be catered for, Pastor Joseph Simiyu works as hard as possible. He wants to ensure they eat, are clothed and attend school as other children in the neighborhood. “I began as a hawker selling households items at a very cheap price. This was not enough considering that my home had become a home to fourteen other children. With little savings from that business, Pastor Simiyu opened a music shop. He had just joined DOVE Springs Sacco and business was growing. “I saved for a while since the Sacco requires a member to save for six months before applying for a loan.” Eleven months later, Pastor Simiyu approached the Sacco and was given loan of one hundred thousand shillings.

“My shop was filling up fast due to the many sales items I was bringing in to sell. I expanded the shop and transformed the music shop to a general shop with almost all household items.” Once a movie and music shop, Pastor Simiyu now also sells second hand electronics, cosmetics shop and vitenge. “It takes courage and willingness to take risks to make it in business. These businesses have changed our lives tremendously.” Pastor Simiyu says. “My children including our foster children are in school, they get a meal every day, my fare to wholesale shops is paid for and I started a chicken-business for my wife. Indeed God has blessed us.”

Reaching this point, however, has not been easy. “I have experienced theft from my employees. This has cost me a great deal as I lost trust in employing people. Every time I travel, my shop remains closed rendering sales stagnant. Sales depends on seasons too. During holidays, I sell more especially movies and music. People also want to dress well and women would come for the vitenge materials. I also experience dry days where I do not sell anything. These are the days I do not go home because I do not even earn enough to fuel my motorbike.

Pastor Simiyu encourages anyone wanting to grow in business to be part of the Sacco. “It is in the Sacco that I gained knowledge and I will be a lasting member. In the near future, I want to own a motorbike and a pick-up to transport goods to my shop,” he concludes.

 

Advertisements

Loan Leads to a Chain of Businesses

At Sirende shopping centre, Mr. Orungu receives me. I notice a warm reception by other bodaboda operators as I walk towards him. I later learnt of his new role as the bodaboda Chairman at Sirende. It is a role that he acquired through hard work in his motorbike business.

Mr Orungu 1Five years ago, Mr. Orungu’s wife, Esther, joined DOVE Springs Sacco. She saved for a while and as a family they decided to take a loan of thirty thousand shillings. The loan was used to purchase a motorbike. This became Mr. Orungu’s source of employment as he took it upon himself to be the operator. “We did not want to take another loan since the motorbike business was bringing a profit. From it, we saved more. I had already identified a need and market for bricks.”

“The whole process of producing bricks is expensive and tiresome. Getting skilled labor who know how to mix the soil and make blocks is another task. These people need money,” Mr. Orungu explains. But it was possible because the motorbike was on the move, catering for the brick business and family bills

Mr Orungu 2 “I will sell half of the bricks and with the other half we will lay the foundation of our house,” explains Mr. Orungu. “The people I employed to produce the bricks had to drop out of school because they did not have fees. I took it upon myself to visit their schools and talk to their parents. I wanted them back to school and so I paid their allowances to their school accounts. I am glad I did so to change their lives and also ease the burdens on their parents.”

Brick business can be affected by weather changes as pointed out by Mr. Orungu. “Weather does affect the production of bricks as they have to undergo days of hardening through heating. In case of heavy rains, the wet bricks are soaked in water rendering them unusable.”

Mr Orungu 4Mr. Orungu is a proud man “The motorbike opened doors for us. We are now producing bricks, and our next plan is to  rear chicken. DOVE Springs Sacco changed our vision. We have increased our work momentum to repay the loan. We need more loans and we cannot take any chance of being blacklisted in case we do not repay!” he concludes.

 

 

Mbulutini Kings Academy

When God called James and Truphosa Mwendwa into ministry, He saw within them the potential to change their community. They started with the agenda of preaching the Good News. But they soon noticed very low literacy levels among people in the community. Through DOVE Mbulutini in Ukambani region of Kenya, Mbulutini Kings Academy opened its doors in January 2009 with three pre-primary pupils. The school aimed to address the issues of illiteracy, ignorance, spiritual and economic bondage in the community and provide a platform in which pupils could learn God’s Word. Since then, the number of pupils has grown from three to fifty.

Kings academy 3

Teaching began in the church building and as the number of pupils increased, more classrooms were needed. The church then began construction and has built four brick-walled classrooms. They also rent more rooms to cater for the increasing population of pupils and teachers.

“It was clear that illiteracy was high and most people could not read the Bible even in the local language,” the Mwendwa’s explain. “With approximately 3,000 adults in the immediate community, less than 1% of the people have a post-secondary certificate or diploma and less than 20% have attended high school. The majority are primary school dropouts.” They notice that the common pastime of idling results in social evils among young people and backwardness in the community.”

kings academy 6

Mbulutini King’s Academy is making a difference, but it is not easy. Many parents, challenged by poverty, cannot pay school fees. Secondly, the Government of Kenya requires that they employ certified Teachers from the Teachers Service Commission which strains the resources of the school. Also, most of the pupils’ classrooms are on a rented property which adds even more strain to the school budget. The escalating economy has led to increases in food prices, making it difficult for the school to offer meals to the children and teachers as they normally do.

But despite the challenge, Mbulutini Kings Academy is determined to bring holistic change—even as God gives strength.

*Mbulutini Kings Academy is a new member of the Springs of Africa Education Initiatives Programme.

I dared to dream

Every minute counts for Daniel Obindi Nyaleso, a 26-year-old events and décor entrepreneur. “I became a member of DOVE Christian Fellowship Kawangware in 2013 and did not know that this would be a place of worship and at the same time a place that would push me towards my business goals,” Daniel explains. He learnt about DOVE Springs Sacco through Sunday announcements. After a while he joined the Sacco and started saving.

IMG-20170307-WA0005
At the time, he had been employed by his friend to run his business. “I organized delivery, coordinated business activities and paid workers. Such a platform gave me an opportunity to acquire skills.” After a while, Daniel decided it was time to be on his own. “I talked to my friend of my plans and he wished me well. I am glad we are business partners. When I needed some money to boost my business, I decided to knock the doors of DOVE Springs Sacco.”

Obby Dan Daniel took a loan of thirty thousand shillings and invested the whole amount to purchase one hundred seats. “Business was growing and from the clients I had met from my previous job, I had so many referrals. I thus needed more chairs.”
Daniel talks passionately about the lessons he has learned. “Be trustworthy as you work for someone else. Have a positive mindset and be willing to learn. Do to perfection whatever your hands find to do.”

15349828_1867233120156115_8218203431469746357_nHaving had a background in events and décor business, Daniel did not anticipate so many challenges. “I was wrong,” he says. “At times, I deliver services and am not paid. Sometimes, big institutions would want me to deliver first then pay me later. This affects my employees as they have to wait to be paid.”
As a young upcoming entrepreneur, Daniel encourages young people to start somewhere, save the little money they make and learn to depend on themselves, “Let your family members grow, let the church grow; do not be dependent on people. Everyone has their own needs, so learn to meet your own. After all, there are no big or small dreams. What differentiates our dreams is how we set our goals,” Daniel concludes.

Desert Streams has Come Down

Devastation ravaged through kibera slums on Tuesday night and desert streams school was razed to the ground. The school building, desks, computers, textbooks and student books, supplies, student records, church equipment-they are all gone. To the natural eye, the situation looks hopeless. But Judy Oloo the co-director and her husband Tobias, the teachers and even the children are not without hope.

desert-streams-before-the-fire

Desert Streams School before the fire

The Oloo’s were alerted at night about a fire. “When we got here, we could not do anything. The fire was spreading too fast,” Judy recounts. “Even what we tried to salvage was snatched by looters who were taking advantage of the confusion to grab whatever they could.”

The day before, nearly 250 students were busy learning in the school whose vision is to provide “quality education that enhances a child’s life-long dreams.” They were ready for a good year. Now, remains of revision papers, scraps of metal and two staircases leading to nowhere speak of a what was but is no more.

desert-streams-after-the-fire

Remains of Desert Streams School after the fire

Despite the calamity, children reported to school the following day. Teachers gathered them in groups in the empty adjacent church building and courageously continued teaching as best they could. Parents came to witness the damage.

fire-salvaged

“We were hoping to finally finish construction on the school building,” Judy explained. “Now in just minutes, it has all been grounded.”
The fire was apparently sparked by electrical fire caused by an illegal power connection in the neighborhood. “I heard a huge explosion followed by several more explosions and within a short time, the whole neighborhood was burning.” a teary victim narrates.

“We are collecting nails hopefully to be reused when time to rebuild another building comes. We do not know where to begin, we have been reduced to nothing, we began the year well but now we are lost in the ‘desert’, Judy desperately explains.
Then the unwavering hope: “But with God’s help, we shall surely start again.”

remains-of-desert-streams-water-tank

NOTE:Desert streams is in the Springs of Africa Education Initiatives program. The interim emergency plan is to partition the church to form classrooms. The most urgent need is now for books and desks. We encourage you to donate toward these costs.You can so do at http://www.springsofafrica.org (via Paypal) to Springs of Africa to RESTORE DESERT STREAMS. Thank you!

Uncertainty Fosters Certainty

 
“I had no idea of what business to pursue” says Jane Akumu, an omena supplier at Kawangware market. Jane is a widow living in Kawangware with her two children and three grandchildren. Being a member of DOVE Springs Sacco, Jane took a loan of thirty thousand Kenya shillings and decided to venture into omena business, even though she was uncertain what the outcome would be.

jane-akumuWith hope, resilience, sacrifice and hard work, Jane has managed to shift to a bigger house that can accommodate her and her children and has a section where she can store her omena. “Before, I used to request a friend to keep my sacks for me at the close of business and many times, I found them tempered with. I always felt bad.”
Jane can now meet more of the needs of her family. “I am happy that I can pay rent, pay school fees for my children and put food on the table. I wake up at 5:00 a.m and by 5:30 a.m, I am already settled at the market selling omena to the retailers.” Despite being uncertain of the kind of business to engage in before, Jane is proud of herself for taking the risks; a loan and venturing into a business that she was not sure would pick up. “In a good day, I make Ksh 5,000 and in a bad day, I make Ksh 1,000,” asserts Jane.

Just like in any other business, Jane encounters challenges. Her major challenge is transportation of the sacks of omena from Lake Victoria. “It is expensive and I cannot be sure if I will get them since I order for them here in Nairobi,” Jane explains. She recalls a recent scenario where her two sacks of omena were rained on and she had to sell them at a throw-away price to farmers to feed their animals. “That was really a set-back,” she says. “I could not repay the loan in time since I had other needs to meet at home.”
As she builds up the business, Jane aspires to buy land, build rental houses and plant maize in the village. This is as a result of the omena business opening her eyes to other business possibilities.

By Daisy Kilel

 

Reaching Out the Community through Fun Day

 

More than 100 hundred children in Kawangware have been enjoying a whole day fun at DOVE Christian Fellowship, thanks to Springs of Africa which have been facilitating the monthly activity.

The fun day which takes place every third Saturday of the month brings together children in Kawangware locality, giving them an opportunity to be spiritually nourished. During the event, the children get to read the Bible and taught on topical issues such as personal hygiene, Christian living, discipline and academic excellence among others.

Participants of VBS 2015 display their presents during the final day of the annual event.The children receives gifts and reading materials from the Lee family who are missionaries in Kenya from South Korea and passionate of children ministry. The Lees also facilitates the playing of games besides providing lesson materials to the teachers for training the children.

Alloyce Onyango, a Sunday school teacher in DOVE Kawangware said that the main objective of the fun day aims at bringing together children in the community and teaching them God’s word. Additionally, the event helps the children not only to get fun as they play the games but also to improve their physical fitness.

“We also identify the needs of the children and usually those struggling with low self-esteem and give them special attention and one on one counseling,” added Alloyce.

Most parents in the community laud the event saying that their children get engaged with the Word of God on Saturdays rather than staying indoors and watch the television all day long. They appreciate the financers of the event for their commitment in reaching out the community.

 

By Ken Irungu

Savings and Loan Group Makes Huge Strides

2015 was a year of multiplication for DOVE Springs SACCO (Savings and Credit Cooperative). Membership nearly doubled in just one year, with 104 new members added to bring the total to 214.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

DOVE Springs SACCO Executive members pose for a photo after 2015 AGM

DOVE Springs SACCO, a combined effort of Springs of Africa and DOVE Africa, aims to enhance economic stability, prosperity and quality of life through providing efficient investment and credit opportunities for its members. The society seeks out ways to build successful models of cooperative economic empowerment. 

In addition to teaching members on the importance of saving, the society encourages members to take low-interest loans that can be used for income-generating pursuits. Members have the added advantage of reaping dividends when the society realizes a suplus.

Becoming financially stable is a major need and also great challenge for many families in the African context. DOVE Springs Sacco operates not only in Kenya, but has also extended to Uganda and Congo – within the DOVE network – to help empower those who participate in the program.

Besides doubling membership in 2015, the number of loans given out to members also doubled. In total, Ksh 1.9 million ($19k) was released to members in loans in 2015, supported by the Ksh 2.35 million ($23.5k) that was collected from members’ contributions as well as additional donations from partners. All that results in a vibrant and growing enterprise that holds great promise for the future.

logo edited 3After what seemed like a slow start in 2012 and several difficult years, the sponsoring organizations are thrilled with this tremendous progress. The SACCO model is sustainable, the vision commendable, and the results in the economic status of members are very encouraging.

Angela Kung’u, loans officer with the SACCO, comments on this amazing progress by saying “We are happy that whenever a member applies for any loan from our SACCO, he or she gets it efficiently without delay unlike other financial institutions.”

In conclusion, DOVE Springs SACCO looks forward to a successful financial year ahead.

By: Diane Omondi

A Widow Excels in Curio Business

A DOVE Springs Sacco* member has experienced great success in selling curio commodities. Theresa Akumu Mbeche, a widow for 11 years and a mother of four, has successfully operated a curio shop in Nairobi for one year after acquiring a loan from the Sacco to get started.

Theresa’s shop is located in a guest house, Amani Gardens Inn, at Westlands, Nairobi.

ladies purse

A ladies pursue stocked in the Theresa’s Curio shop

The curio shop stocks nicely made handbags, clutch bags, necklaces and earrings, tablemats made with beads, wooden and beaded key holders, among other products.

Theresa said that she sells most of these items locally, though at times to international clients. She explained that she designs the bags and collaborates with a tailor who polishes the designs for her. Through the sales, she makes a reasonable profit through which she can sustain herself and pay rent and school fees for her youngest daughter who is still in school.

clutch bag 3.jpg

Clutch bag

Theresa, who is faithfully paying her loan, gratefully praised the Sacco in that she was able to acquire a loan after saving for a few months. Theresa added that it advantageous to be a member of Sacco in that one only needs to save a little amount and through the little savings, he or she can acquire a loan and pay in less stressful way.

As an advice to young entrepreneurs, Theresa urged them to be patient and fully concentrate with their business. She urged them to be aggressive in search of market and ensure they give their clients quality products.

clutch bag 2

A clutch bag sold at the Curio Shop

In the next one year, Theresa hopes that she will be able to expand her curio business and acquire a larger space for her shop. She looks forward to getting more clients, even internationally, for her products.

 

*DOVE Springs Sacco is a project of Springs of Africa empowerment initiative.

By: Kenneth Irungu

The Power of Partnership

Partnership is key in development work. This was quite obvious on my visit to the semi-arid region of northeastern Kenya, where the sight of sand dunes, acacia trees and camels provide an indication that life is hard. Tough weather conditions – drought and sweltering heat – are not the only challenges. Insecurity in the region has discouraged even those with best intentions. After militants attacked a nearby University earlier this year, many development workers including teachers and medics vacated the area.

Springs of Africa partners are staying on, steadfast in their desire to bring hope and help to this region. Springs of Africa is honored to be partnering with DOVE Africa, and in turn with an entire network of partners, toward this end. Through this network, we have not only pooled resources together but also skills and expertise that support the work.

DOVE and Bethany International are collaborating on projects in both the

SANY2345.JPGPapaya in one of the farms in Garissa.

health and agricultural sectors. Together, we are farming in this formidable area using pumped water from River Tana. The 10-acre farm has a variety of vegetables including kale, spinach, kunde and managu, and a young orchard.

 

Although farming is part of the history of several local tribes, most have abandoned farming due to the harsh conditions and opt to keep livestock and burn charcoal. But in most cases, they rely on relief food – which may or may not come! The farm project, therefore, exists to encourage local residents to produce their own crops.

A clinic, open every Thursday, provides health services to surrounding villages and the nomadic tribes of the region. On every clinic day, more than 100 patients receive free medical care including medicines.

At the same site, piped purified water and solar electricity are in place. Community members are given a chance to charge their cell phones at a subsidized fee of 10 shilling (one cent). That is quite an attraction!

In addition to farms and a clinic, Springs of Africa has collaborated with DOVE and a church in South Africa to establish Ziwani Academy, a school for children in the village.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

An experienced school administrator from yet another church in the region has volunteered not only to teach, but to give administrative advice and help teachers effectively partner with parents for their children’s success. Previously, education was seen as unnecessary and unimportant by most parents in these nomadic tribes.

That is not all. Women empowerment groups, in which DOVE SANY2655.JPGcollaborates with yet another local ministry, is reaching out to women. A team, through Joyful Women Organization, visits different women groups every week where they educate women and empower them financially through savings and table banking.

We are grateful for all of these courageous and committed partners and trust that God will continue giving strategic connections – powerful partnerships – toward significant and holistic change.

By Kenneth Irungu