Maisha Marketplace promotes economic empowerment, creating business and commerce. The Maisha Center was built in 2010 and is the hub of enterprise activities. Maisha trains youth and adults in making hand-crafted goods, dressmaking skills and holds weekly forums of the community-owned Table Banking project.
The Table Banking project is a business funding project providing micro-finances to implement income-generating projects and discuss better business methods. Members quickly multiplied their initial seed funding and continue to grow the funding pool, offering larger loans to members who have successful records.
Many partners have joined Maisha Marketplace to strengthen the community and find development solutions. In 2011 a solar-generated Wi-Fi computer classroom was built in the center where people learn computer skills and participate in interactive classes with teachers from the U.S.
A sewing workroom and classroom was also added to the center, with which dressmakers sew bags, clothing, and school uniforms for the Maisha Academy. As their skills grow, they plan to contract their services to supply uniforms to local schools.
Bore hole drilling equipment was supplied as well in 2011 and Maisha’s first drilling team was trained, creating another vital income-generating project and providing clean water to surrounding communities.
A lease to own tuk tuk (motorized rikshaw) project was launched over the summer of 2012, the first of its kind. It is proving highly successful, as the drivers take pride in the upkeep and maintenance of the vehicles, knowing they will one day own it. This lease to own concept is being applied to sewing machines now as well, enabling people to own a machine themselves and have a successful business. A payment plan is set in place that allows the lessee to fully pay the balance within two years with minimal interest. Proceeds go back into purchasing more lease to own equipment.
The Maisha Marketplace is a hive of activity, bringing life and economic opportunity to the people of Maisha. It not only helps them earn a living, but brings self worth and the joy of a job well done.
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