Cultural taboos can’t keep Muema, the father of two young children, from accessing the benefits of a Village Savings and Loans group! Joining the women-dominated VSL group, Muema has no shame or embarrassment, but has instead found hope and confidence to launch his own business.
Like many in his rural village in Eastern Kenya, he left school in the ninth grade to start work due to an inability to pay for school fees. For years he participated in small-scale farming, the same way as his ancestors, but he desired to work in a different industry. In the search for a new livelihood, Muema began saving his small salary. With it, he began welding training in his village. While he dreamt of starting a welding business, the costs were too high.
This is when the village savings group came into his life – which he describes as a “God-given opportunity” – restoring his dreams and allowing it to become reality! As a member, he took out his first loan, worth $50, to open a retail shop and hotel, which provided him with extra income and business experience. His second loan, $20, was used to purchase farming inputs. Muema says, “My big goal is to save as much as possible to purchase welding equipment and electronics in order to launch my welding business.”
Though traditional taboos discourage young men from joining a women’s group, he is proud to be associated with the program. The group has taught him financial literacy, discipline and loan management, with an overall aim of encouraging a culture of saving. Muema says he is “Grateful to God and the Fadhili team for making opportunities closer and within reach.”