Fresh Life Operator spotlight – Esther Wanjiru
25-year-old Esther Wanjiru lives in the heart of the sprawling Muthurwa market in Nairobi, Kenya. The young mother of one is the owner of two Fresh Life Toilets that are located along the busy road. Her Fresh Life Toilets are open everyday from 6am to 6pm and serve over 250 customers who are in transit to and from their work. This earns her an income of $470 per month.
Esther began operations in February 2014 and is happy that her business is never short of customers. “These Fresh Life Toilets have really helped me because I can take care of my son – I don’t have to worry about fending for him.”
Esther has also employed an attendant – 20-year-old Jennifer Achieng, who runs the toilets and ensures that they are always sparkling clean. This has allowed Esther to stay at home and take care of her one-month old son. It also affords Jennifer an opportunity to earn some much-needed income. “It’s not easy for youth to live in a town like Nairobi with no money. Being a Fresh Life attendant ensures that I have money for things like food and clothes.” Jennifer says. Many of her friends have resorted to crime because of lack of employment and she is glad she doesn’t have to go down that road.
Esther attended the Fresh Life business training and learnt crucial business skills that have helped her run a successful business. “I always encourage my attendant to treat the customers well so that they keep coming back.” She also learnt how to grow her savings through M-Shwari, a mobile saving platform. Esther plans to use the savings to acquire more Fresh Life units to grow her business.
Her husband Patrick Kamotho, who runs a small hardware shop, is glad that they invested in the Fresh Life Toilet. ”The income we get from the Fresh Life Toilets helps my wife to buy food and save up so that we can keep expanding our businesses.” Patrick is also the Chairman of Muthurwa Residents Welfare Association and has seen the significant change that has taken place over time due to the introduction of the Fresh Life Toilets. “We had solid waste strewn all over, everyone would use flying toilets because the public toilets available were located very far from our homes.” The area is now much cleaner and he encourages members of the association to take up the Fresh Life Toilets as a way of keeping the environment clean and as an income earner as well.
Patrick says with a smile, “Children in this area now live in a much cleaner environment and do not keep getting sick. This is a huge accomplishment for us and we hope to keep it that way.”