It’s often said that the journey is more important than the destination. Veronica’s story demonstrates that sometimes the destination is pretty nice, too.
Veronica lives in Kenya. Widowed at a young age, with two young sons to support, her life was a struggle.
“It was very difficult,” she said. “My husband died when the boys were still very young. Food, clothes, shelter, everything was hard to come by. Looking back, I do not know how I made it through. I had to go back to my rural village, because I had no means to make ends meet. I had no one to depend on. I felt alone.”
Eventually, Veronica came to the city of Kisumu and began selling foods that she had prepared. Since she had no location out of which to operate her business, her only option was the difficult task of walking around the city on foot, carrying her wares.
Then things began to change for the better.
“A friend of mine from the church introduced me to Unbound,” she said. “The staff came visiting me. They saw how much I needed help. They decided to enroll both my sons in the sponsorship program. I was in dire need of a helping hand and Unbound was my lifeline.”
Besides the essential benefits of sponsorship, which include school tuition for her sons Victor and Ronald, Veronica enjoys belonging to the Unbound mothers group in her community.
“I am happy to be part of the group,” she said. “We share experiences and learn from each other.”
Like other group members, she has taken small loans from the group to support her business aspirations. Now she works out of a kiosk, which she rents, and no longer has to walk around the streets of the city.
“From the sales I made from hawking food, I saved up some and rented a small space,” she said. “My niece would help me cook and serve the customers. Over the years my food kiosk has grown. I now have six employees working with me.
“I chose to start a food kiosk because I have always had passion in cooking. Every time I cooked for people, they would compliment my cooking. That motivated me to do it on a larger scale. I cook local food; ugali, chapati, local vegetables, fish, beef, chicken and so much more. My customers love eating local food.”
Veronica says she’s motivated by the memory of life before she started her food business.
“I keep going because every time I look over my shoulder, I am proud of myself,” she said. “I never want to go back to the days when my children and I would go to bed hungry and cold.”
Today she enjoys her work and is excited about her sons’ prospects.
“My personal dream is for my business to grow and continue doing well,” she said. “For my children, I want them to excel in their education. It is through education that they will have comfortable lives.” Chuckling, she added, “and help me in my old age.”
She remains grateful to her sons’ sponsors and Unbound for the opportunities that have come to her and her family.
“Were it not for the help I have received from Unbound, I would not be where I am today. Unbound has played a huge role in my life. I am so grateful for their support and encouragement over the years.”