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From Day Labourer to Thriving Business Owner

You gave Zipporah an opportunity to use her God-given talents to lift herself from poverty

Zipporah Musembi was humiliated.

She had approached yet another family member to ask for a loan, only to be denied again. She knew this meant her two boys would miss another month of school since she couldn’t afford the monthly fees with her income.

Living in the village of Kasikeu, Zipporah had only ever known poverty.

She struggled to put food on the table for her two boys, and could rarely afford to send them to school. Zipporah would try to find work when she could. She would work as a day labourer in neighbours’ fields from dawn till dusk. Her meager wages were barely enough to pay for one meal a day.

Zipporah often approached friends and family for help financially, even if she hadn’t fully repaid her past loans. After being rejected yet again, one friend told her about a new small group at church that might help Zipporah.

The savings and loans group, started by Tearfund’s local partner Fadhili Trust, was started by the village church to help women and families find ways to save their money collectively and lift themselves from poverty. As each member invests a small amount of money each week, they each become qualified for a small loan to go towards food, school fees or supplies for a business start-up.

The group, called “Neema” (a word implying a group full of grace), interviewed Zipporah and welcomed her in. It was a new beginning.

When she joined Neema, Zipporah finally felt free of the humiliation that she carried with her. Dignified and hopeful, she regularly attended her savings group meetings and contributed what she could to the savings fund. Zipporah even volunteered to act as one of Neema’s treasurers.

After contributing to the savings group, Zipporah finally qualified for a small loan. She immediately used the money to send her two sons back to school. With a bit of the loan leftover, she made small upgrades to her home. Zipporah worked hard to repay her loan to the group, wanting to stay as a member in good standing.

Soon, Zipporah qualified for another loan. She was growing tired of working as a day labourer as the work was often unreliable and paid very little. 

With the support of Neema, she decided to start her own small business.

Several women walking on a road, one carrying an umbrella
Living in the village of Kasikeu, Zipporah had only ever known poverty. Joining Neema helped her begin to thrive.

Zipporah got to work opening up a small grocery store operating out of her home, carrying everyday products and snacks for her neighbours to purchase. She also built a small chicken coop, and began selling chickens from her backyard. Her business has been doing so well that she’s even been able to buy a small water pump for her fields, meaning that the few crops she grew would flourish even during a drought.

Today, Zipporah is thriving. She’s been able to repay her debts and start small, innovative businesses that are helping her send her boys to school. The family is no longer going hungry, and Zipporah no longer has to toil in her neighbours’ fields. Zipporah regularly takes part in church services and even participates in the Neema group Bible studies.

Churches in Kenya are empowering women like Zipporah because of supporters like you. Your gifts are an investment in the lives of women and their families, not just a handout. You’re supporting the growth of innovative and lifegiving businesses that are lifting people out of extreme poverty. Zipporah is using her God-given gifts and abilities to lift herself out of extreme poverty thanks to you.

You can support women like Zipporah and give families a future without hunger and extreme poverty.