The Villagers

2012 Cluster

Esther WasembaEsther Wasemba, 42, has lived in Kibera for the last 20 years. She has no birth children, but cares for five orphaned children. Her husband died, leaving her with no source of income. At one time she received from various sources partial support for her children’s school fees, but these sources dried up. Esther worked odd jobs to feed the children till 2012, when WOFAK (Women fighting AIDS in Kenya) referred her to KCU.

KCU provided funds to ensure that Esther’s children would remain in school without being sent home for lack of fees or school supplies.

Esther attended the small business management workshop provided by KCU and bravely stepped out as an entrepreneur! She made crisps from cassava or potatoes, selling them to people coming home from work in the evening. KCU gave her a loan of $60, which helped her increase her stock of potatoes and cassava so that she could sell her crisps to vendors.

However, she now had to face a heavy set back. The vendors failed to pay her on time, which derailed her business plan and all of her good work thus far. Nevertheless, in KCU she had strong supporters. Volunteers were able to help her to collect some of her money from the debtors.

Undeterred by this rather shaky start, Esther took another loan of $60. Now she is on her way back to creating a thriving business.  Her business prospects are positive. She has some good connections with a number of Asian shop owners for whom she used to wash clothes. They have promised to buy the crisps that she makes, if she can provide a constant supply and in a large quantity. Esther’s greatest challenge, however, is with her health.