Commonly known as Franco by his friends, Francis Ngige, 55, owns more than 60 single room house units which he rents at between Ksh.1, 55o and Ksh.2, 550.His journey to where he currently is has not been easy one. Initially, his main source of income was from vending vegetables in Juja town. Despite his humble status, Francis managed to save some money at a local bank. His savings would later enable him take out a loan, buy a piece of land and construct his first set of single room units. “The fact that I was out of the market place was a plus. However, the biggest challenge I faced thereafter was the loan payments, the interest rates were too high. I was channelling half of my rental income towards the loan,” says Franco
Franco, a father of three, got wind of the affordable loans self-help groups offer but he did not pay much attention as he thought the loan facilities were only offered to the Catholic faithful since the groups are operated under the umbrella of the Catholic Church. It was not until a friend clarified that self-help groups cater for all without regard to gender, religious or cultural backgrounds. He joined the St. Augustine Self Help Group in 2005. The group enabled him clear the bank loan and build more house units. His most recent project consists of 48 units, which he rents to locals and students from the nearby Jomo Kenyatta University.
Franco’s children have followed in their father’s footsteps. They are not only members of St. Augustine Self Help Group Juja but are in the process of building rentals, which their father is helping finance. “My children are witnesses of my transformation; this has encouraged them to develop a saving culture,” he says adding that he plans to continue with property development as it is a timeless investment.