Women group in Kakuma set up unique eatery
When Faraja Kujirabwinja, a former employee of an NGO in Kakuma Refugee camp, Turkana County, child got sick, she did not expect that it would come along with many challenges. She worked as a peace facilitator under peace and conflict resolution unit.
“My child was hospitalised for a long period; and as a result I was not able to go to work. Consequently, I lost my job. I had to quickly come up with an alternative way to fend for my family,” remarks the 23-year-old mother of one, who has lived in Kakuma Refugee Camp for several years.
She formed a business group with four women friends in March 2015. “I quickly came together with four other friends who had business interests similar to mine,” she says, adding that they formed Hope Women Group, and she was appointed as founder chairperson.
The group began growing vegetables, but their returns were low due to many challenges, and this affected their morale.
In July 2015, AAH Kenya, through the Kakuma Refugee Assistance Programme (KRAP) started a refugee loan scheme. The group qualified for an advanced loan of KSh100, 000(USD 1000) upon meeting the laid down criteria of selection.
These astute businesswomen used the loan to start up an eatery. “We began by carrying out a survey to understand the eating habits at the camp. We realised that most restaurants specialised in meat while a small number had country specific delicacies such as injera that is popular among Ethiopians. An even small number of eateries specialised in other foods such as rice and other indigenous vegetables.”
The group decided to set up an eatery that put more emphasis on vegetables, but also prepare other delicacies. “We thought hard and came up with an eatery that sells the vegetables we grew as a group,” she says.
In October 2015, the group started the newest eatery in the camp. It serves a large clientele and provides a wide array of foods to meet the diverse customer needs.
“Our financial performance is motivating. In the third week, our profit was Ksh26, 700 (USD267). Our prices are affordable. Furthermore, our food is unique as it appeals to diverse nationalities. Some of the foods we serve include sardines and other indigenous vegetables such as sombe, shuja and makembela. Customer satisfaction is our priority,” Kujirabwinja, Burundian, explains.
James Juma, a Congolese national and Hope Women Group regular restaurant customer, say the food is quality. “The food is awesome. There is fine meat, fresh chips and the restaurant is clean. The ambience is serene, the staff are great,” says Mr Juma.
He says they have a wide variety of vegetables, adding that there is even Congolese delicacies.