Tuamushane Tuinuane can be loosely translated to mean let’s build each other up to stand tall. For Grace Owendi, this has been the case since she attended the Kayole Parents Entrepreneurship training in October 2011.
Grace started her Chapati selling business in early 2011 having learned the skill of cooking chapatis from her father-in-law. A mother of ten (eight of her own and two adopted) Grace’s day begins at 3am with a one hour prayer session before she starts making the dough and lighting fires. “I know that sounds early, but I have learned the importance of seeking God every day before I start my day”, she commented.
EPTF and I Choose Life-Africa partnered in a pilot initiative targeting two High Schools in slum areas in 2011. The project seeks to enhance learning through holistic sexual reproductive health, rights intervention and economic empowerment and targets students, their parents/guardians and teachers. EPTF used its experience of over 10 years to empower some parents with basic entrepreneurship skills.
‘My Form 3 daughter asked me to sign up for the training when she heard it being advertised at her school, Kayole South Secondary School. I was elated to have been selected after I applied knowing very well how much I needed skills on how to run my business profitably’, she said. Book-keeping, customer service, banking for business growth and community transformation are the sessions that stood out for her.
‘After the training, I started keeping my books of accounts and I also opened a savings bank account,’ she said. ‘I then stopped living from hand- to- mouth and began planning ahead,’ she added.
Community Transformation through Business is a session that caught Grace by surprise. She had always known that business is about making money for herself to enrich her family. When Grace came for the training, she had two casual employees who assisted her with the cooking. ‘I began looking at my employees as people who needed more than just being casually employed; they too had families who relied on them. I had such a high demand of chapatis that I decided to give some of the customers to my two employees; I then set them free to start their own businesses; I again took in two more that I trained and released to cook for some of my customers as a business start up for them too.’ she said. The demand is too high that I desire to keep training and releasing my casual employees to stand on their own’, she said. ‘That is how I came up with Tuamushane Tuinuane as a business name.’ she explained. Her business model is geared towards empowering more who will in-turn transform the community around them. One of her biggest clients is Nakumatt Supermarkets, a leading chain of supermarkets in East Africa.
Since the training, Grace’s household has really improved. She has since been able to pay for her children’s school fees without struggling with two of her sons in local Universities. She has also bought new sofa sets in her house as well as a TV set. ‘The performance of my children in school has really improved since they are no longer asked to come home due to lack of school fees. My future plan is to invest with my children and my prayer is that God will give me long life and courage to keep going.’ she concluded.
The few parents interviewed spoke proudly of the parents’ entrepreneurship training. Just like Grace, many have experienced tremendous changes in their households and improved school performance by their children who now are able to stay in school throughout the school term. It is evident that empowering low-income earners leads to community transformation. We are glad to facilitate community transformation process in a slum area charaterized by very low incomes.