From Tragedy to Prosperity

Gem Village, Kenya

Gem is a village in Isiolo, mostly dominated by Turkana villagers. The village has lots of challenges, especially its poverty rate. Poverty has led to many problems, including an increase in school dropouts among teenagers and divorce due to financial crises.

Mark is a living example of someone who really has felt the pain and misery of poverty. He has not been lucky since his childhood, but the worse befell him when his father passed away. Mark was 14 years old at the time, the oldest of four children. He was in the sixth grade in school. As if this were not enough, his mother suddenly lost her eyesight. This and his father’s death left Mark and his younger siblings dumbfounded.  

After a long period of pain and suffering, Mark realized he couldn't proceed with his studies as he needed to work to provide food for his family. He had been working some, but could not fully meet the demands of the family, because in addition to food, there were other primary needs that had to be provided. At the time, he was just 15 and in the 7th grade.

It was not until Mark came across GHNI that things began to change for him. GHNI identified Mark as a young man with potential and dreams for a positive life but only lacking capital to achieve his goal. Through its agents, GHNI organized different groups within the region and taught them ways to overcome the life of poverty. After the groups had been taught, they were introduced into GHNI’s microloan program which aims to empower men and women who have vision but lack financial resources. Mark happened to be one of the group members who benefited from this program.

Mark carefully used his portion of the microloan for charcoal trading. He began his project as a retailer and as business picked up. He expanded his workshop and began to trade as a wholesaler. He now distributes charcoal to retailers. Mark is now able to comfortably take care of his family. He is paying back the microloan on its terms and conditions and even has enough income to save for the future. Mark is so grateful to GHNI for the support they offered him at a time when he had lost hope in life. He swore to live as an example within the community and to observe moral values.