Women group eatery gaining momentum
Grace Angelo believes refugees can empower themselves economically. Angelo, 40 a South-Sudanese is a single mother of three foster children. She came to Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya 25 years ago. She lived in the camp without a source of income for several years.
A few years ago, she was among a few women that were trained by the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) as a dress-making trainer. Upon completion of her course, she was employed as a dress-making trainer for several years in the Livelihood and Women Empowerment department. However, she had to quit her job due to ill-health in 2013.
In order to make ends meet, she set up a shop selling food products and dress-making, but the proceeds were insufficient to meet her family’s needs. Being a vulnerable woman, she sought for financial support from National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) to improve her business.
“NCCK Community services department put us into groups of five members of single women and referred us to AAH Kenya in May 2015 for loan provision. Late August; we received training in business and entrepreneurship skills. We then opened an account and we were issued with a Ksh 96,000 ($960) loan a few days later,” says Angelo.
“One of the most exciting aspects of our group business (Imotong Group Hotel) is the flexibility in selecting the location and mutual trust. NCCK gave us space in the public market. It is a busy area, and thus accessible to many potential customers. We established our business at the end of September 2015,” she explains. She says they currently serve about 30 customers daily, with foods and snacks, including ugali, rice, meat, and vegetables.
The eatery is a relatively small venture, but with skilled personnel working under the helm of Grace; and riding on previous business entrepreneurial skills. Other members include Joyce Kasiano Paul, Rose Kanuto, Akelo Gloria, and Fanttete. Their vision is to make their business the best in the area.
“We have recorded monthly profit of Ksh1, 380 ($138). Since we started the business, three months ago, we believe it will grow,” says Kanuto, 26, with a grin, adding: “We are ready to repay the loan on installments, according to the agreement signed.”