PENDO, age 27, was a kindergarten teacher until she had her second child 9 months ago. Seeing that her teacher’s salary would not be enough to support her household, which includes her younger sister, 2 children, and an assistant, she left teaching and began selling merchandise door-to-door. She sells new handbags, shoes, bed sheets, and fabrics, and makes about $10-$14 a day from this trade. From the profits, she opened a small snack shop 3 months ago and now hires a shop assistant so that she can continue selling door-to-door. The shop brings in a profit of around $3-$5 a day. With her savings and a new loan, Pendo hopes to open a new business, a café.
Pendo belongs to the group Dhahabu (Swahili for “gold”), which consists of 36 other members who keep each other accountable and insure one another in paying back their loans.