Agnes K. is 23 years old. She lost her mother in 2004 to the dreaded AIDS. She came from a single parent family.
A womens group by the name WOFAK (Women Fighting AIDS in Kenya) knew her mother so they sponsored Agnes for hairdressing and beauty training at the Alternative School of Hairdressing from 2005 to 2006. Agnes was one of the best students and was offered employment at the Blue Yellow Hair Salon in Hurlingham.
Agnes started saving and by the time she left her job to look after her younger sister, who is year years old and HIV positive, she had saved USD 357. With these savings, Agnes bought hair relaxing chemicals, rollers, a blowdryer, towels and some chairs. She then rented a shop from where she has been operating. With her income, she is able to feed, educate and buy medicine for her sister. On a sad note Agnes and her 8 siblings (four brothers and four sisters) were disowned by her mother’s relatives after they learned that she was HIV positive. So after burying her mother, Agnes took full responsibility of raising her siblings.
Agnes has been experiencing difficulties due to stiff competition from neighboring salons, which are fully equipped. A few clients have left. Agnes has been trying to do after-sales services, such as offering a free hair wash, in order to retain some of her clients. She senses that if they continue to leave, she will be left with no income to feed herself and her siblings. Agnes is therefore requesting a loan of USD 625 to help her purchase a dryer, steamer, blowdryer, four chairs, training dummy and a 14-inch television set. With this additional equipment, Agnes will be able to compete with her fellow competitors and hopes that with time she will win her clients back. She will also be able to give her customers quick and efficient service and in turn increase her income.
Due to the harsh situation that Agnes went through, i.e. rejection and neglect from her close relatives, Agnes has taken 2 orphaned girls and is training them in hairdressing. She has been able to overcome obstacles in her life and does not want girls in similar conditions to suffer like she did.
After buying the equipment, Agnes will employ two other people. This will translate into higher income that will enable her to support her siblings. Agnes intends to repay the loan in 8–15 months.