I spent the day on a field visit with Jamii Bora. If anyone doubts that micro-credit can work in an African context, then save up your plane fair and make your way to Kenya!
A project started by a retired Ingrid Munro and 50 determined street beggars now boasts loans of over 300 billion Kenyan Shillings (do your own currency conversions!). But I am less interested in the statistics than the human stories I witnessed today.
There is Wilson Minor, a former thug who seems to have specialized in muggings. His logic was that he would not wait to die from hunger, which is slow and painful. A bullet is much faster so if the police caught him then one shot would save him from a prolonged death. After 18 micro-loans, he now has a few businesses under his belt, lives in a beautiful house and about to purchase a car with the help of Jamii Bora. He is an articulate speaker who now also has experience speaking internationally. This is but one of about 20 inspiring stories/visits experienced today!
I am fascinated by the names of slums being borrowed from other parts of the world and their related history. Kosovo slum was named as such because of the land grab when the location came up around 1990. We also spent time in Soweto, named after the South African township. It also happens to be more developed than Kosovo :o)
An unedited video clip of Mary’s story: