In Kenya, we work with our partner Jamii Bora. For years, a woman named, Ingrid Munro, has been working with those living in the Kibera Slums of Kenya to help lift themselves out of poverty. Beginning with 50 beggar women, Ingrid was able to establish Jamii Bora into what it is today- one of the largest microcredit unions in all of Kenya.
Today, members join the Jamii Bora SACCO and are able to withdraw a small loan for the start-up of a business and create a sustainable income. In being a member, they meet in groups and support one another and hold one another accountable for the repayment of their first loan. Once successfully paid back, they may withdraw another loan and so forth.
Ingrid Munro, as the founder of Jamii Bora, has seen the SACCO and microfinance cycle work well and enabled many to have lives that are drastically different than those before these opportunities.
Wilson was born in the slum of Mathare. At age seven, he saw that people were dying, either a slow death from starvation or a quick death from a life of crime. At that young age, he determined that his would be a quick death, because he did not want to starve, and Wilson began snatching watches, purses, and other items from his neighbors and from visitors to Mathare. He became one of the most notorious thieves in the slum.
Eventually, an old friend who was an account manager with Jamii Bora convinced him that there was another way to earn a living. She explained about the requirement to start a savings account first, and further stipulated that Jamii Bora would not accept stolen money in that savings account. Wilson decided to give an honest life a try. He saved, and he and his mother took out a small loan to start a grocery business. Through very hard work and perseverance, Wilson’s business succeeded.
He since has qualified for a home loan and has moved to Kaputei Town into a house with four rooms, indoor plumbing, tile roof, and glass windows. Wilson has become a spokesperson for Jamii Bora and has traveled as far as Norway to share his story and the story of Jamii Bora.
Jamii Bora Today
Jamii Bora has not only gone from offering small monetary loans to hopeful business entrepreneurs but today offers members benefits like health insurance and a Housing Loan Program for those members of the SACCO and who have successfully repaid their loans previously.
Owning a business is great, but owning a home is truly the path to leading out of poverty and a real accomplishment for many who lift themselves out of poverty with dignity and respect.
Learn about helping others like Wilson, a hand up changes not only those of today but the generations to come.