The Hidden Entrepreneurs... a year on

Gladys Gathoni on her farm in Buuri, Meru County, Kenya.  Credit: Traidcraft Exchange/Kevin Ouma

Gladys Gathoni on her farm in Buuri, Meru County, Kenya. Credit: Traidcraft Exchange/Kevin Ouma

 

Millions of people around the world have all the talent, drive and determination it takes to run a successful business, but lack the opportunity to do so. 

These people are Hidden Entrepreneurs – and last year, your generous donations to our appeal raised over £540,000 to help them turn their lives around.

We can’t thank you enough for your tireless fundraising efforts – organising Big Brews, taking on challenges, and doing everything you could to show solidarity with some of the most hardworking yet vulnerable people in the world. 

This total you raised was then matched pound for pound by the UK Government, bringing the total to almost £1.1 million – a truly amazing result! 

Thanks to your support, our work is now getting underway. We have just started a brand-new venture to support farmers in Meru County, Kenya, to make the most of their entrepreneurial skills. We visited some of the people taking part in the new project earlier this year, to hear first-hand how the project is giving them hope for the future. 

Misheck’s story

Misheck and his wife Lucy work hard on their farm to support their three children to go to school and university. They have chosen to focus on growing potatoes on their farm, because other vegetables need a lot more water and their farm is in a dry area.

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Husband and wife Misheck and Lucy, pictured here on their farm, are Hidden Entrepreneurs from Meru Country, Kenya. Credit: Traidcraft Exchange/Kevin Ouma

I decided to get involved because of what Traidcraft Exchange could teach us about farming, especially potatoes. We are hoping that we will have a good harvest and be able to save some money. We had training on how to store potatoes properly so as to sell them when the market price is best – just one month ago the price was 2,500 Kenyan shillings per bag, but now, it has risen to 3,000.     

If you organise yourselves, you have bargaining power... as we learned from (the new project), we are now getting into groups. When people are together, they can speak with one tongue.
— Misheck, Hidden Entrepreneur

Alice’s story

Alice is a widow living with her daughter and two granddaughters. Currently, farming alone doesn’t cover their basic costs and she is sometimes forced to borrow from relatives which she finds very stressful. She hopes the new project will help them earn more money from their crops. 

Alice is a farmer and Hidden Entrepreneur from Meru County, Kenya. Credit: Traidcraft Exchange/Kevin Ouma

 
Coming together, we’ll be able to help each other. Through the group we can get things more cheaply, then we can divide up the seeds and fertiliser. It will also be easier to get training, because we’ll be in a bigger group to get hold of those services. 

When I have to borrow, I find it very disturbing, because I know everyone has their own challenges. I begin to think “Why me?” and I start to remember my husband. If there are two of you it is much easier. My prayer is that I live long to take care of my grandchildren and can see them through school.
— Alice, Hidden Entrepreneur

The Hidden Entrepreneur appeal has now ended. To learn more about it, go to www.traidcraft.org.uk/hidden

Nancy Demuth