Dream deferred, not denied. Even if it means waiting another generation.
At least that’s how Jane Nyambura sees it.
As a girl she wanted to be a lawyer, but her parents couldn’t afford to send her to high school, let alone university. Now, she pours everything into her three sons and the daughter she adopted. Her second son, Peter, is already in university, while the youngest, Nathan, is in high school. Isabel is in elementary school.
Putting them through school hasn’t been easy though. In Kenya, public schools are free up to the 8th grade, but many parents, like Jane, prefer the low-cost private elementary schools, where teachers are better paid and less overwhelmed.
Jane pays more than $3,000 annually in school fees for all three and also pays for the boys to board near their schools (more than 13 miles away) and for transportation. She’s thankful that Isabel’s school is just up the street.
“At times it causes strain to the family resources, but thanks to the different incomes I get from farming and business, I’m able to save,” Jane said.
But she couldn’t have done it without access to appropriate financial services.
Jane has built up her businesses with the help of Grameen Foundation partner, Musoni, a microfinance institution in Kenya that uses digital technology to send loans and receive payments from clients. Over the last year, she has gradually taken out loans to buy a dairy cow, reopen a shop that was damaged during Kenya’s last presidential elections, to start a side business processing mobile money transfers and to buy a second-hand taxi which she rents out.
Her cow is her prized asset. She bought it with a Kilimo Booster loan, which was specially designed by Grameen Foundation and Musoni with support from MasterCard, to match the seasonal cash flow of a smallholder farmer. She earns $2,500 per year just from selling milk—enough to cover the bulk of her children’s school fees. That helps her stretch the money she gets from her other businesses and from her husband to cover other needs.
Jane used to dream about what her life would have been like as a lawyer. Now, she dreams about the future for her four children—she already plans to get more cows and rental property to help put Nathan and Isabel through university.
“I am educating my children to be what they want to be in life and that they have a better life than me,” she said proudly.
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