“She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.”
In the rural areas of Kenya, finding consistent work is a struggle for many people. Most families rely on subsistence farming for their daily meals. Sometimes this is enough, but most often, it is a struggle to depend solely on this type of farming, especially after an exceptionally brutal rainy season. When the Husband and/or Father of the family is able to find work (usually some type of manual labor) the money from that can be used to supplement the nutrition of the family, pay school fees, buy clothes and other things the family might need. However, finding consistent work in villages is very difficult.
One of the ways in which Life For Children ministers to the local community in Kisumu and Wachara, is through a microfinance program called MEDD. The program has helped over 1000 men and women start small businesses since it’s conception in 2011. MEDD focuses on men and women in the community who have business minds but do not have the means or opportunity to open their own businesses. MEDD trains these individuals with business skills, the most important of which is a savings account. Small loans are then given to them based on their ability to save. Little by little they are able to build their businesses without the burden of a huge debt hanging over them.
Nafuu Women’s Group was started is under the leadership of Emily, the MEDD Microfinance Officer in Wachara. These women came together as a group to support each other in their individual business efforts. The word “nafuu” is Swahili for “comfortable” in English. Nafuu truly captures the spirit of this group. The members came up with this name because they want every woman to feel comfortable in the group. Their businesses range from selling basic need items (flour, tea, bread, washing powder) from a small shop windows to selling fish to tailoring and clothes making.
Each week they meet together with Emily to discuss how they businesses are doing and to make payments on their loans or to their savings.
Recently, I was able to visit the Nafuu group and I asked the members this question: “What does having your own small business mean for you and your family?” One of the women responded “I don’t have to wait until my husband finds work to feed my family, I am able to do it with my business.”
We praise God for all that He is doing through Life For Children ministry to give hope and life to the village of Wachara.