One of our company values at Your Nice Apartment is generosity. We wanted to use our company to pay it forward and give someone else a chance. We thought long and hard about ways we could do this and low and behold a perfect opportunity came along through a very close friend Kate Copstick. We knew Copstick (as she prefers to be called) was very proactively involved with a charity in Kenya, but she had also started her own charity after wanting to provide a new and unique opportunity to people in poverty. She identified that people wanted to work, but had no way to start a sustainable business- so they were dependent on food and medical hand outs from other charities. If they could have the finance and business support they could be self sufficient. Knowing how difficult it is to start and sustain a new business this idea really appealed to us.
We launched the Your Nice Apartment ‘2 Feet Foundation’ in December 2010. Our new foundation supports the worthwhile and very hands on charity Mama Biashara (Mother Business), which helps people start new businesses in poverty stricken areas of Kenya. Everyone deserves the opportunity to stand on their own two feet and support themselves and their family, but, many people in Kenya do not have this opportunity. They live in extreme poverty unable to house, feed and cloth themselves. Education is a luxury that few people can even think about and survival on the streets is a harsh reality. But, given the chance, these people want to stand on their own two feet. They have good business ideas but no way of funding these ideas. No banks will give them loans, there are no parents to ask for help, there are no jobs to save money. Most are living on the streets and in slums. Many are HIV positive. They all need help, not a hand out or just a meal. They need a way to build their lives and support themselves permanently.
This is where the Mama Biashara steps in. All money donated to the charity goes into a business fund. A person has to have a viable, sustainable business idea in order to apply for funding. This is not just a hand out. Mama Biashara’s mantra is ‘business not charity’.
Our first 2 Feet Foundation fundraising event in Dec 2010 raised almost 1000 euros. This was then personally delivered by Company Director Simon Walker, who accompanied Mama Biashara founder Kate Copstick on a trip to Nairobi. We were pitched many ideas in scenes very similar to the TV programme Dragons Den and eventually financed 4 businesses.
It doesn’t take a great deal of money to start a business, as little as 5 euros in some cases but helping people to identify a viable business idea, buy the right merchandise and sell their product in the correct location is an extremely valuable lesson, which can change their lives forever. The sustainable businesses we funded means that 22 people are now self employed making enough money each week to eat and provide shelter for themselves and their families. As well as a second hand baby clothes selling business we funded a business selling fresh blended fruit juice on the street and also set up a plastic recycling scheme which will employ 16 people collecting sorting and shredding plastic found in the garbage of the slums.
On our return in March 2011 we held a photographic exhibition with images taken from professional photographer David Winch who documented our trip and this again raised more money for Mama Biashara. In the future we are set to continue these fund raising events and from 2012 we will be donating a % of each booking to help Mama Biashara continue her work to help poverty stricken people in Kenya to stand on their own ‘2 Feet’.
We want to thank everyone who has supported this worthwhile cause and donated so far.
YNA Essential Info:
Find out more: http://mamabiashara.com
How can I donate?: You can donate directly to the Mama Biashara charity through their website above. We will be starting many schemes and ways to donate to the 2 feet foundation and Mama Biashara. For example, When you hire a Kindle E Book during your stay £5 will be donated to the charity!