she shapes the city

Judith Ahenda ~Solar-preneur

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Judith is a successful “solar preneur”, heading a solar business which spans three shops, five villages and employs a growing number of employees. Now a local success story, she started out as a smallholder farmer. A single mother of three once she left school she grew maize and raised chickens to support her family. It was not until local Agricultural Officers recommended her for training program that she put down the hoe and picked up the pen.

Judith was selected to take part in an entrepreurial cook stove project and soon diversified to selling solar lanterns. About a week after her solar training she sold her first lantern, three months later she had paid off the initial loan she was given and her business took off. The local residents could see the benefits of her solar products. Kerosene lamps gave people chest complaints and without access to professional medical treatment these were left undiagnosed and untreated. After using her solar lanterns customers testified to their chest issues clearing up. Judith also explained the dangers that the lamps posed to their users. One evening a neighbour went out briefly, leaving two young children behind in her house. One of the children knocked the lamp and set fire to their mosquito net, lucky they were unscathed but the woman lost her home and all her possessions.

Finding transport uneconomical Judith has bought a motorbike, it took her two days to learn how to ride it and after two months she learnt how to service it herself. Most mornings she rides out to neighbouring villages to meet with returning customers and potential clients. Having put three children through school through her own funds Judith is quietly satisfied with her growing profit base but it is not just the money that this business has offered her. Judith feels that it has exposed her, to people, places and experiences that would not have been possible whilst she was tending her plot of land.

Judith wears a Kiko Romeo dress and a Le Collane di Betta bracelet.

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