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Sh. 17 daily savings plan gives Thika hawkers put up a multi-million housing project.

Members of Thika Town Vendors Company take Thika Town MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina round their multi-million investment which is as a result of an initial sh. 17 daily savings.
From an initial daily savings of Sh. 17, a group of Thika hawkers are putting up an ambitious housing project worth millions of shilling in Kiganjo estate Thika.

Thika Town Vendors Company was formed in the year 2010 as a self-help group where each member was obligated to make a mandatory monthly contribution of sh. 500.

According to the Chairman Joseph Muiruri Kimuti, the idea came up after the tribulations they underwent as hawkers and realised that they might end up retiring from the trade with nothing to show after years of “being chased by county government askaris”.

“Initially we were about 60 of us and only contributed for table banking. We later realised that we needed to invest for our old age and we started contributing money for investment,” explained Kimuti.

Kimuti adds that their original plans were to venture into the transport industry but after some soul searching, they opted to venture in real estate where they managed to buy their first piece of land in Kangangu, Gatanga Sub-County for sh. 150,000.

Eventually, the group opted to invest in a more viable plot of land whose value could appreciate faster and offer good quick returns and that is when they bought the plot in Kiganjo for sh. 1 million, all from members’ contributions.

“After saving for 3 years, we approached one of the financial institutions in Thika who gave us a loan of sh. 3.6 million to embark on this project. They later gave us another loan of sh. 6 million that has now enabled us to construct these bedsitters for the ground floor which we hope will be complete in the next one month or so,” said the group chairman.

George Karanja Mwangi, popularly known as “Waneti”, acknowledges that the ground floor is likely to fetch them about sh. 100,000, which will go a long way in offsetting their loan with the bank.

Karanja who is the group’s Finance Officer says that after this first phase of the project, they plan to raise more funds to expand it to a 4-storey flats consisting of bedsitters and one-bed roomed houses.

He attributed their success story to dedication, determination and integrity in the running of affairs of this organisation.

“We are usually very strict with our members. Anyone who fails to abide to the group’s laid down rules and regulations is either fined heavily or ejected from the association. We have also raised the bar so high for the officials to ensure integrity and openness in the running of the affairs of our company,” says Karanja.

While in a tour to the group’s investment, Thika Town MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina was amazed by their zeal and dedication towards investing into their future.

He promised to help them raise about a million shillings to complete the first phase of their project in order to open up their income streams via house rent.

“Through Jungle Foundation, we are ready to guarantee you a loan of thrice what you are able to raise now even if you need sh. 800,000 a million bob tomorrow,” said Wainaina.

He appealed to the government to come up with a loan programme that would extend loans of up to sh. 10 million to such groups payable in 10 years at an interest rate of as low as 3% per annum.

He also encouraged other groups to emulate these hawkers and come up with invest generating investments that will uplift their standards of living.

Thika Town Vendors Company plan to eventually venture in full-time real estate business where they will be buying parcels of land and putting up houses for sale and to let.

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