Martha is an ECD teacher living in Kilifi. As a mother of four she runs a charcoal business to sustain her family. Kesho supports one of her children in Secondary School. She is also an active member of Makinika group (cluster group established with the support of Kesho in 2014).
How did you get to know Kesho? When? What is your relationship with Kesho?
In 2011, my husband had an accident and all our savings, which were meant for school fees, were used for his medical treatment. I was looking around for assistance to ensure that my children can continue going to school and the chief directed me to Kesho. We went through the application process, interviews and we were successful, my son then had gotten an admission letter to Moi Forces Secondary, Nairobi.
Kesho has assisted not only through the sponsorship but also by giving legal advise, skills in the area of child protection and business management.
How did you come up with your business idea? How is your business doing?
I have been running a charcoal business for a year now and can say it is successful.
Though I am working as an ECD teacher I have to generate additional income to sustain my family since my husband cannot work anymore after his accident. I used to run a small restaurant but it was not very successful; mainly because of being a teacher, I could not be present at the business site and monitoring it was a challenge. I decided to venture into the charcoal business, which I can easily manage besides my teacher job. I started with 10 bags, and then I got a loan from Makinika Group and expanded to 44 bags. I only sell in bulk; mostly to restaurants and so far it is doing well though the business is still young but I hope to reinvest most of the profit to help expand it.
Of course I am also facing challenges like poor quality of charcoal or customers who don’t pay on time. However that additional income gives me the chance to sustain my family and to pay school fees for three of our four children.
What are the benefits of being part of Makinika group?
There are a number of benefits I get from the group. For instance, the table banking gives me the opportunity to save as well as to get loans. Last year we introduced a ‘food merry-go-round’, (sugar, maize flour and wheat flour) which has been of great support for my family and I. I learnt about business management and my knowledge on child protection has been increased.
What do you advise other women entrepreneurs?
As a woman you have many tasks, don’t give up and trust in your God. Never ignore opportunities especially when people offer to support you. Look ahead and always continue taking steps forward.