The other day while returning home from Nairobi airport, my taxi driver Davie told me a remarkable and truly touching story.
Davie who is now 24, lost both his parents to HIV when he was 15, leaving him and his 7 year old brother in care of his elderly grandmother. Unable to provide for both of them, and with little opportunity to make money in his village, he came to Nairobi where he lived on the streets. For several years, he survived day by day finding his next meal often by digging through the trash.
He tried his best to find odd jobs like washing cars for 100ksh, and eventually by the time he was 19, he got a job as a gardener that paid him 3000ksh/month, which is around a dollar a day. Around that time, his grandmother passed away, so his younger brother left the village and came to live with him in Nairobi. With the money he made as a gardener, they rented a tin roofed shack with mud walls in the slums of Kibera for around 1500ksh/month.
Seeing an opportunity to make a living as a taxi driver, he saved his money so he could afford to get his drivers license. An American named Chris that was visiting Nairobi, hired Davie to drive his rented car during his stay in Kenya. Upon leaving Nairobi, Chris helped Davie get a loan from the bank so he could purchase his own car. Now with his own vehicle, Davie is able to make enough money per month to make the loan payments, and by January he will have paid off the loan.
Davie, although he did well in school finishing his primary education, after his parents died he was unable to continue on to secondary because he couldn’t afford the 20,000ksh per school term. Knowing the importance of education, he is using the money from driving taxi to pay for his younger brothers education, because he wants him to have more opportunities than he had himself. They recently moved from the slums of Kibera into a smaller place with tin roof and walls by Junction paying around 3000ksh/month.
Davie’s story might have gone a lot differently, if it were not for the kindness of one stranger, who gave him an opportunity with a loan. Seeing the impact it has made on Davie’s life has made me a real believer in the power of a loan. Are you ready to make a micro-loan that can change a life?
Visit kiva.org to make a loan that can help empower an entrepreneur.
Visit vittana.org to make a loan that will help send a student to school.