Overcoming all odds to fulfill his entrepreneurial dreams: Dominic Mutinda’s Story
“I wonder where I would be today if I had been able to complete school. I would have a higher status in my community. However, I’m not worried. I am on the verge of my breakthrough.” Dominic Mutinda, a 23-year-old Fresh Life Operator, is optimistic about the impact of his business – and he has every reason to be.
About six years ago, Mutinda had to drop out of high school because he could not afford the school fees. Of the four boys in his family, he was the third to leave school. As a single parent, their mother struggled to support them; selling second-hand clothes in Muthurwa market hardly earned her enough to take care of her family.
When Mutinda and his two brothers dropped out of school, they had to fend for themselves. Mutinda and his older brother moved out of their home and rented a house in the neighborhood. Mutinda started working at a car wash, and his brother transported traders’ goods to the market for a small fee.
Life was difficult. Mutinda and his brother could barely afford to feed themselves. His casual job at the carwash was not a reliable source of income as there were too many other young men vying for the job. “I have slept hungry and in the streets on many occasions when I haven’t been able to pay my rent,” Mutinda recalls.
It was not the life he had dreamt of, and he wanted better for himself. While many of his friends and peers turned to crime to make ends meet, he was on the lookout for an opportunity to be an entrepreneur. He was not deterred by the seemingly insurmountable obstacles he faced: his lack of funds and a lack of opportunity, to name just two. One evening on his way home from work, he came across the eye-catching Fresh Life Toilets and a Fresh Life field officer doing routine compliance checks. He took the opportunity to enquire about the business and was intrigued by what he learned.
Born and raised in Muthurwa estate, Mutinda was well aware of the impact the lack of sanitation had on the community, and Fresh Life struck him as an interesting solution. Determined to become a part of the Fresh Life team, Dominic worked to receive permission to build on a piece of land and approached Fresh Life and Kiva for financial support to establish his Fresh Life business. Today, he is the proud owner of two Fresh Life Toilets at the heart of Muthurwa market.
“Business people in Muthurwa market could not wait to have access to clean and hygienic toilets. These are the majority of my customers,” Dominic says. The demand for his services is so high that the waste is collected twice daily, and he keeps his toilets open 24 hours a day.
Dominic’s business is thriving, and he can now comfortably provide for his basic needs and has money left over to send to his family. “I also support my youngest brother — currently in class seven — by helping out with his school fees. I want him to study hard, finish school, and get a good job,” he adds.
Thanks to Dominic’s Fresh Life Toilets, the residents and business people of Muthurwa enjoy clean, affordable, and accessible toilets, further promoting good sanitation practices in the market. He is thrilled by the difference Fresh Life has made in his life and in his community. It is, however, just the beginning for this savvy entrepreneur. He says he is on the lookout for another piece of land to put up additional Fresh Life Toilets. Way to go, Dominic!