You might think rural Kenya is an unlikely place for innovation. Think again.
We want to introduce you to a few entrepreneurs we met last month. Their creativity and willingness to think "outside the box" is transforming their lives and their communities. Each of these clients took a TOLI loan of less than $300. That, paired with their resourcefulness, their courageous thinking, and the encouragement of a TOLI social worker, has meant a brand new start.
THANK YOU for helping these amazing entrepreneurs find their purpose and use their God-given talents.
REGINA, Tea Sales. Regina's business idea is so simple, but so clever. With just a plastic bag and a candle, Regina has created a tea packaging business that's providing steady income and security for her and her children. She buys high-grade tea in bulk (we tasted it — it's delicious!) and then repackages it into smaller portions. She seals the individual plastic bags with a candle flame so the tea stays fresh, then sells the small portions to clients in her area, including schools and churches. (Click the video above to see how Regina works!)
LENA, Veterinary Services and Supplies. Lena has loved animals her whole life. And even though it's rare for women here, she has long dreamed of operating a veterinary supplies business. But this spring, with the help of business training and a $300 loan through TOLI, she launched a veterinary services and supplies shop. Her business provides medicine, supplements and vet services for area livestock farmers.
LLOYD, Banana Sales. Banana farming is nothing new. But Lloyd's business model is innovative, connecting local small-scale farmers with the larger banana market in Nairobi. Lloyd (shown above on the right) scouts for banana crops from independent subsistence farmers in remote areas, collects them himself, then transports them in bulk to the city every week, where he sells at a premium. Not only has his income sharply increased, his community has benefitted from the market expansion.
LUCY, Butcher. When Lucy's husband, a life-long butcher, died a year and a half ago, she was left without an income. Then this spring, her community group introduced her to the TOLI program. Lucy courageously decided to take a microloan and continue her husband's business. Last month, Lucy reopened the butchery, and she now provides fresh meat as well as some of her own special recipes to her community. "Being a butcher is unusual for women here," she told us. "But business is good, and is picking up."
“ Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you.”
— 1 Kings 3:12
Q&A with a TOLI Traveler
Almost 30 years ago, Annie Moore’s father began a ministry serving abandoned boys in the slums of Nairobi. Years later, it was his passion and legacy that sparked Annie's desire to go on a TOLI trip to Kenya. As a former social worker herself, Annie was intrigued by the “transformative shift” microloans can play in breaking the cycle of poverty. We asked her to share a few thoughts about this life-changing journey to Kenya with TOLI last month.
TOLI: Describe an encounter with a TOLI client that impacted you deeply:
ANNIE: We met a woman whose business involved traveling from Kenya to Uganda to buy fabrics and selling them for a profit to dressmakers and other people through word of mouth. She seemed to be doing quite well and had plans of expanding her business, but what really struck me about her is the daughter she "adopted" (whom she saw had no parents) who now lives with her. The daughter is also taking a microloan to make and sell soaps. This daughter sends some of her money back to a brother suffering from some ailment for medication. Seeing generosity giving way to generosity was inspiring.
TOLI: How did you see God at work through TOLI?
ANNIE: God was at work in the TOLI social workers as they were facilitating groups, working alongside of individuals, giving their very lives away with loads of joy and passion in the work they were doing. Observers, Teachers, Encouragers, Listeners, Supporters, Advisors, Travelers, God is using so many facets of these social workers!
TOLI: What would you like others to know about TOLI?
ANNIE: The TOLI staff does an exquisite job of carrying out the business of getting microloans to people and pursuing growth, while simultaneously reassuring individuals that TOLI exists not primarily for the repayment of money, but most importantly, for the worth and value God sees in each and every person.
Inspired? Jump in.
> Be like Annie. Travel with us! Check out our trips coming in 2020.
> Come to our next #TOLITuesday Prayer Gathering on July 9 from 12-1pm at the TOLI office, 5785 N.Union Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO 80918.
> Help more entrepreneurs find their purpose, gifts, and ability to care for the families and communities by giving today. A simple $300 microloan can truly transform a life — and a family — forever.