Anastasia Mbeyu is 39 years old and lives with her three children in Kilifi town. She also takes care of the child from her cousin who is in the Kesho sponsorship program. From Monday to Saturday she sells Mitumba (second-hand clothes) at her shop situated in Kilifi town. In 2014 she joined the group Makinika, a cluster group established by Kesho.
Anastasia, you are a mother and an entrepreneur at the same time. How does a normal working day for you look like?
After getting up early in the morning I prepare tea, which I carry to my shop. I make sure that I open the shop at 8am to be ready to receive the first customers; I attend to customers till 6pm and ensure that my merchandise is well arranged and can attract customers. Sometimes my children pass by the shop and keep me company. Usually I close my shop at 6pm and then it is time to go home and prepare dinner for my family.
How did you come up with your business ideas?
My first business was selling ‘viazi karai’ (potato dish) which I did for one year. It was a challenging business; the price of the potato was fluctuating and made it difficult to maintain a good profit margin.
Later on friends introduced me to the Mitumba business and got me stock to start with. I started that by selling clothes from door to door and after six months I opened small shop (Kibanda, open structure) and stopped the door-to-door business. That business did well but I faced a number of challenges; the Kibanda did not give enough protection from rain and dust and due to security I had to carry all clothes every morning and evening to a store. Through loans from Makinika and Tujijenge (group saving and loan scheme) I was able to buy more stock and further expand the business; I now have customers who buy in bulk. A few weeks ago I was able to open this new shop, it is a permanent structure and I am not challenged by rain and security anymore. Additionally I attended the soap making training organized by Kesho I started selling soap. It is doing well and supplements my existing business well since the profit margin is also favorable.
How does your businesses support you and your family? What challenges are you facing?
The business sustains my children and I. I’m able to cater for their school fees and for Kesho sponsored child I can now comfortably shop for him. I have an opportunity to save money on a regular basis, ” they call it saving culture”. This means when my last born joins secondary school next year I will be prepared, through my business and loans from the Chama groups I will be able to pay for the school fees and definitely provide for my family needs.
The challenges I have at the moment are customers who do not pay as promised or customers who order in bulk and do not pick up their merchandise that then reduces its value as well as the liquidity.
What role does Kesho play in your life and your business?
Through Kesho I have learnt a lot about child protection and how best I can protect my children and other children in my community additionally I talk to other parents on matters of child protection. The soap making training opened a new business avenue and the possibility to access loan through the cluster group that has boosted my business. Though I am able to take care of my children and myself I cannot cater for the school fees of my foster child and therefore I am grateful, Kesho has stepped in with the sponsorship program. The boy can now access school and the community around him sees the importance of education.
What are your future plans for your family and your business?
It is my wish that my children finish school successfully and get good employment. Other than that I dream of having my own piece of land where I can build a small house for us and we do not have to pay rent anymore.