FINANCIAL EMPOWERMENT AT LAST Milka Anyango Okul (not her real name) is a 20-year-old, mother of one from Segere Village, Central Alego Ward in Siaya County living with her peasant farmer mother. At the age of 17, she dropped out of class eight due to pregnancy and went home to be a full time single mother.

Luck came knocking her door in 5th June 2016 when she was identified through the Girl Roaster and started attending the safe space at Pentecostal Church in Segere.

“I felt so hopeless when I dropped out of school. The burden and shame that I had brought my poor mother made it even more unbearable. I did not see a future for my baby and I. So when I got the chance to attend the safe space, I could not hold my joy. I quickly joined the rest of the girls in the safe space in forming a savings and loaning group. In September 2016, they trained us on Financial Capabilities,” explains Milka

The course was meant to build their savings and financial management skills. The group members contribute to a kitty where they can borrow loans from.

“I took a five hundred Kenya shillings loan from my group and started a small business of selling Omena (a small silvery sardine-like fish). I can now proudly say that I have a bank account with Equity Bank that I opened at their Mtaani Agent at Segere. I save the money I earn from the business,” narrates Milka with a smile.

Her hard work and determination attracted the attention of a well-wisher who increased her capital by giving her a sewing machine worth five thousand Kenya shillings. She has expanded her line of business to knitting seat covers.

“I currently earn an average of two thousand Kenya shillings per month. With Entrepreneurship Skills Training my business has grown tremendously. I can never thank the DREAMS program enough for empowering me and other young women like me who can now provide for their babies,” concludes Milka.

Story by: Ruth Epwoka
Artwork by: Joab Ochieng Obiero