When Thomas in Kenya was sponsored through Unbound five years ago at the age of 64, he set his sights on becoming an entrepreneur.
After his wife passed away in 1992, Thomas retired from his job as a clerk with the East African Railways and took up subsistence farming. He grew kale, maize and beans, and if it was a good harvest he sold the surplus to make some money.
Even with his hard work, Thomas still struggled to provide for himself and three grandchildren in his care.
But when a group of mothers in the Unbound program noticed Thomas’ situation, they referred him to Unbound and he was sponsored by Amber from Texas.
At first, he used his sponsorship to cover the basics — food, clothing and household items. Once his essential needs were covered, Thomas decided to save part of his monthly sponsorship benefits to start a business raising chickens.
“I have always had interest in poultry,” Thomas said. “In the past, I have tried keeping some chickens and sold them to make some money that I use to take care of my grandchildren, who are under my care. So, I decided to do it on a larger scale.”
Running the business is hard work, but Thomas sees that as a good thing.
“I enjoy it a lot,” he said. “It provides for my grandchildren. It keeps me busy as well.”
Thomas has even encouraged other sponsored elders to start businesses of their own.
“Many old people die early because they are idling and stressed out,” he said. “A business keeps them occupied and distracts them from destructive thoughts.”
Thomas said he’s grateful to be part of the Unbound community, which has afforded him the added benefit of new friendships with fellow sponsored elders.
“I would like to thank my sponsor and Unbound for all their help towards me. I pray that Unbound will continue helping others who are in need in my community,” he said.
As the friendship and support provided by his sponsorship continue to play a part in carving out the opportunity for Thomas to move forward, it’s his hard work and entrepreneurial spirit that allow him, and his poultry business, to flourish.
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