Hand in Hand EA Kenya

Lilian Nyawira (In First Person)

We asked one of our beneficiaries to, in her own words and voice, tell us about her journey with Hand In Hand Eastern Africa. This is her story, edited for clarity.

I am Lilian Nyawira, a farmer, wife, and mother living in the Nyahururu highlands of Kenya. For the majority of my life, I have been a subsistence farmer, careful to stay small, to be content in my small life, to have small dreams, and to achieve small things…

 My life changed when I joined Hand in Hand Eastern Africa (HiH EA) and completed their training program. It opened my eyes to new possibilities and helped me move away from my “small” mentality. Beyond the actual training, it gave me a mentality and paradigm shift that has worked wonders for my life. It helped me make the strategic decision to focus on growing strawberries, a fruit that can thrive all year round, unlike other seasonal fruits.

Before HiH EA, my life was a struggle. As a small farmer, I faced many challenges, including unpredictable weather patterns and pests that would destroy my crops. I felt stuck and hopeless like there was no way to break free from the cycle of poverty. But then, HiH EA came into my life, and everything changed.

Their training taught me new farming techniques, financial management skills, and how to brand and market my products. Armed with this knowledge, I decided to focus on growing strawberries. I invested in new seedlings and fertilizer and worked hard to nurture my crops. I was amazed at how much better my strawberries grew compared to my previous crops.

Utilizing the knowledge gained from my training, I packaged my strawberries in branded containers and sold them to both the local community and a fruit vendor at the Nyahururu town market. I even began offering strawberry seedlings for sale to meet my customers’ demands. As a result, I now enjoy a constant stream of income, and my business is growing steadily.

One of the things that sets me apart from other farmers is the branding and marketing skills I learned from HiH EA. By packaging my strawberries in branded containers, customers know that they are getting a quality product. I’ve also been able to use social media to promote my business and attract new customers. These skills have been invaluable in helping me stand out in a crowded market.

But I’m not content to stop here. My dream is to expand my market beyond my hometown and sell my produce to wider audiences. I know it won’t be easy, but I’m determined to make it happen. Thanks to HiH EA, I now have the skills and knowledge I need to succeed.

Looking back, I’m amazed at how much my life has changed since I joined HiH EA. They’ve given me the tools I need to take control of my life and build a brighter future for myself and my family. I’m grateful for the opportunity they’ve given me, and I know that I wouldn’t be where I am today without their support.

As I continue on my journey as a farmer and entrepreneur, I hope to inspire others to follow their dreams and pursue their passions. It’s not always easy, but with hard work and determination, anything is possible. As I like to say, “When life gives you strawberries, make jam!”