- Mildred Wanjala, 25, dropped out of school but now owns her own salon and barber shop
- Her parents were unable to raise money for school fees
- She started off by selling vegetables before she obtained a loan through USAID to establish her small business
25-year-old Mildred Wanjala dropped out of high school but her sheer determination has seen her now owning her own salon and barbershop in Bungoma County.
Mildred's dream as a child was to become a teacher. However, as the first born in a family of seven, she faced the added responsibility of providing for her younger siblings.
Furthermore, her parents, who were subsistence farmers on a small piece of land, were unable to raise money for her school fees, forcing her to drop out of Form 1 in 2010.
Speaking during a USAID interview recently, she said that dropping out of school affected her: “I felt like I had failed the entire family. Their success seemed to depend on mine. It was my duty to set a good example and inspire them to follow in my footsteps.”
She therefore worked hard to overcome the negative perceptions associated with dropping out of school and avoided getting married at a young age, which is something many young female students resort to when they fail to complete school.
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She began to sell vegetables harvested from their small family land in order to contribute to her family's income. Finally, in 2016, she learned about a USAID-supported village savings and loan association (VSLA), which offers small amounts of credit on flexible terms to the youth.
She underwent training and secured a VSLA loan from that enable her to start her salon and barber shop. More than a year later, her profits have grown and she is able to support herself and her family as well.
See another Kenyan youth taking initiative in the video below.