Risper Gesare has endured poverty, survived the threat of violence, and has managed to leave the slums and start a new life for herself. She has turned her life around to become a happy and successful budding entrepreneur.
Risper is a 23-year old woman who lives in Nakuru, Kenya with her husband and two young sons, aged 6 and 3. Risper’s husband is a casual labourer in the construction industry.
Before she joined Trócaire’s “Joint Prevention of Violence against Women and Girls Programme”, Risper and her family lived in a tiny one-roomed house in one of Nakuru’s cramped slums. They lived without sanitation or electricity.
Every day was a struggle to survive and provide food for herself and her family. To make ends meet, Risper did casual work for her neighbours, such as laundry, cleaning and babysitting.
This work made her vulnerable to violence. Sometimes men asked her for sexual favours in exchange for giving her work.
Because of Risper’s vulnerable situation, she was selected to take part in the programme. Since joining, she has received important training. She has learnt about leadership and human rights and she has also received business training.
The training was run by the Love and Hope Centre, one of the local organisations Trócaire is supporting within the programme.
Risper received a small payment of about €2 a day to attend the training. Instead of using this to pay for transport, she walked several kilometres to the centre each day. As a result, she was able to save enough money to open a fruit and vegetable business.
Using her savings and her new knowledge, Risper gradually built up her small business. She was able to rent a stall beside a busy road where she could attract passing trade.
She earns about €2 a day through her business. This enables her to provide food for her family. Her husband gets paid on a monthly basis so they would often go hungry towards the end of the month.
Risper is now able to buy flour so they can keep going until her husband’s salary comes in.
The income has allowed her to move to a new home with her family. Their new accommodation is divided in two by a curtain with a bed on one side and a couch, chairs and table on the other. Though small, it is neat and tidy and much better than where she lived before.
She is well dressed and smiles as she explains the impact the programme has had on her life. As well as now being able to support her family, she says her self-esteem and confidence have increased too.
She feels she can contribute to the household and that she is more valued as a result.
Risper has demonstrated her commitment and ability to manage the business. As such, she is now eligible to receive seed capital from the programme to expand the business further.
With a smile, Risper says she is looking forward to her next steps as an entrepreneur.
The Joint Prevention of Violence against Women and Girls Programme in Nakuru is funded by the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women. This is a three-year project (2017-2020) implemented by Trócaire in partnership with a unique group of Kenyan organisations (Love and Hope Centre, Legal Resources Foundation, Women’s Empowerment Link and Centre for Enhancing Democracy and Good Governance). Aiming to reach 11,000 people in eight informal settlements in Nakuru, the programme uses a holistic and complementary set of strategies to prevent GBV by empowering individual women and girls, promoting behaviour change within the community and advocating for change at government policy level.