Monica grew up in a rural village in Central Kenya.
She married a small-scale farmer and together she and her husband raised crops for their home and to sell to neighbors. They began a family and Monica's life centered around fetching water, cooking, cleaning the home and caring for her young children. Monica thanked God that her family always had food to eat, but their income was minimal and it was hard to provide beyond the most basic necessities. As her kids grew older, Monica worried about how she and her husband would continue to provide for their education. One day she heard about a community savings group that was forming at her local church and she decided to join.
Monica had never held a job before or worked outside of the normal household chores, apart from farming in her backyard. In the savings group she learned biblical principles of business and how to start and develop small businesses. Monica's friends began to start new businesses and as she discussed with her husband, Monica also explored ways to supplement her family's income.
In surveying her local town, Monica realized that there were no gas stations. Families had to travel far to purchase kerosene for lamps and gasoline for vehicles or farm equipment. "There was nowhere . . .They were traveling very far to get the petrol", she says.
Monica decided to use the first loan from her savings group to start a business selling gasoline. She started simply with a metal cylinder with a cut-off valve, funnels, and rubber hosing. She'd purchase fuel on daily basis from the closest gas station, a village away, and then re-sell it at a road-side stall.
The gas business did so well that Monica quickly paid back her loan and then began to stock oil and basic car parts. Before long she used new savings along with a second loan from her group to build a cinderblock storefront. With improved storage and security, she then added propane tanks and other new products, eventually using a third loan to purchase a large underground fuel tank.
Today Monica continues to save and develop her business. In addition to owning her own gas station and having a stock of fuel and auto parts, she has made a cash profit of more than twenty times the average monthly salary for farmers in her community - not bad for a first-time business owner. Now all of her children will have an opportunity for further education.
Update 9/19/2017: Monica's business has continued to grow. After setting up a pump for petrol, Monica recognized an opportunity to expand her business to lorries and large trucks involved in transporting goods across the region. She purchased an additional underground tank and set up a new pump for diesel, quickly multiplying her monthly sales volume.
When you support Five Talents, you give women like Monica the knowledge and skills to start and run successful businesses. Your support helps to break the cycle of poverty and it brings hope and new opportunity to families and communities in need.