After losing her husband to the violence of South Sudan, Joyce fled the country with her children in search of a new life. When she arrived in Kenya, she made contact with a British organization that assists refugees in Nairobi, and after a few months of waiting, Joyce and her family were permitted to immigrate to the United States as refugees.
Despite experiencing the tremendous culture shock of moving to a new country, Joyce made the best of her situation. She found a job at a San Diego health center and worked there until she was recently laid off. She began looking for employment through a temporary employment agency, but had difficulty finding a job in the crowded job market. Instead of letting her circumstances hold her back, she instead saw it as an opportunity to take her employment into her own hands.
She began selling a variety of cultural goods, such as traditional Sudanese clothing and art pieces, taking out her first microloan to fund her venture. She eventually moved into selling lotions, perfumes and crèmes at local swap meets, focusing on selling consumer goods that would appeal to the local African immigrant community.
Now on her eighth microloan, Joyce has demonstrated tremendous character through the years with regular, on-time repayments and a commitment to growing her business. She plans to use her $4,000 Kiva loan to increase her inventory, enabling her to sell at additional outdoor markets and ultimately grow her income.
When asked what her business dream would be, she shared, “I want to become financially independent and perhaps start my own import and export business one day.”