For 18 years, Pauline’s husband had been repairing shoes to support his five children. Tirelessly he worked day and night, hunched over his table, to bring home an income. But it was only just enough to buy food for the family.

So Pauline started her own business – a small veggie kiosk – to pay for her children’s education.

When she joined Milele’s Group Savings and Loans (GS&L) program back in 2014, she had already started her business, but needed it to be more stable. Each time she paid school fees, she had to essentially start her business over again because all funds were wiped out.

With guidance from the GS&L program, she has been able to maintain her veggie kiosk and also meet her children’s school fees at the same time.

Pauline’s business is one of 23 micro businesses supported through Milele’s GS&L groups. These include fruit and vegetable vendors, a midwife, soap makers, mobile phone shops, a photographer, a charcoal vendor, tailors, a hair salon, shoes sales, upholstery sales, catering services/food kiosks, fishing, motorcycle taxi, and papyrus mat weaver.

The Milele GS&L program mainly provides capital for starting up businesses. Many members have sustained their businesses by continually borrowing for some of their pressing needs, such as school fees, and later paying these off slowly from the proceeds of their businesses.

When a community member wants to start a business, they join a GS&L ‘group’. There are currently seven groups running. Milele provides training to members and leaders on how to start and run a group, including providing passbooks, stationery, T-shirts, and award ceremonies costs.

So how can you help?

There is a great need to help these businesses grow! We want these men and women in Kisumu to increase their capacity and improve their livelihoods further.

Pauline, for instance, has not been able to expand her tiny veggie kiosk in almost two decades! As her first-born son heads off to university and her last-born gets ready for high school, she now needs to drastically grow her family’s income.

The Milele team needs your help to grow this program. You can help:

  1. Provide specialised training on selecting, planning and managing micro businesses. The cost for this once-off training is US$500 (AU$710) for each GS&L group. There are seven groups in total.
  2. Recruit a field officer to monitor and evaluate the progress of businesses at a monthly cost of US$3,009 (AU$4,278) over three years.
  3. Create a sizeable US$7,000 (AU$9,952) business-only nest where members can draw and repay loans to expand their businesses.

You can be part of this community-changing program! Email info@dropletsinastream.com.au or call 0434 833 172 to donate towards this worthy small business program. Your gift can create a new story.

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