Ifrah Abokar Ali

Ifrah Abokar Ali, 32, is a living example of the word determination. Having grown up from a humble family of 11 children, she had to drop out of school at class four together with her other two siblings so as to give the chances to their younger siblings. Ever since then, she decided that whatever she was going to do in her life, she would ensure to be very successful in it; be it business or even being a house wife.

Ifrah grew up in Old town of Mombasa. Her mother was a house wife while her father was a driver. She was so determined and she liked everything that seemed like a challenge for her. She therefore started working in a mobile phones shop while also doing computer classes. She taught herself how to drive and later brought home a private tutor to teach her of which is going on with to date.

After that she decided to venture into personal business of selling clothes at Markiti. However, the competition there was so high because her two mates whom she was sharing the same stall with, were also selling the same goods. In 2012, a friend told her about KYBT and she decided to request for a loan to expand her business of which she was granted in 2013. The business was going on so well that she was able to buy her own plot in Likoni and with the support of her husband they built their house. Nonetheless, her success didn’t last for long as the County Council came and broke down all the stalls in the market. Since people were being arrested in the market, she had to run away so as to save herself from paying a fifty thousand fine which would be required to be released. All her goods were taken and she was back to scratch once again. Luckily, by then she had already paid her loan and all she had to do was stand on her feet once again.

In 2015, Ifrah came once again to KYBT to ask for another loan but as the loan was being processed, she got another idea; ‘why do I have to waste my fare, energy and time crossing the ferry to go to Markiti while I can find something to do here in my area?’ She then decided to do a market research and every morning, she would leave home and walk around different areas to find out what business is missing. It is then that she found out that there was no electronics shop.

When she informed her family of her business change, they all greatly discouraged her with the saying that it is a man’s job and it would require millions to establish the business. Ifrah likes challenges and regardless of all the discouragements, she went ahead to start the business in an area near Shelly beach.

After getting the hundred thousand loan from KYBT, she started making her shop ready for her business and more than half of the amount went to the preparations i.e. door, shelves, paints, rent. What was left from the loan was only eight thousand plus her savings and other money she was able to collect, she had forty eight thousand to stock her shop. It took her almost two months before she could open her shop and for the first five days after opening her shop, there was not a single customer who came by. On the sixth day came the first customer and she welcomed him with great enthusiasm. She made sure to make a celebration after selling her first goods and she admits how it was such a wonderful feeling.

The business has been growing ever since and she keeps coming for mentorship sessions at KYBT with Mr. Swaleh Nuwein. She is glad that Mr. Swaleh is very open, a good listener and a very good mentor. She remembers once when she was getting a lot of orders of goods but she didn’t have money to buy them and Mr. Nuwein gave her the idea of making savings specifically for emergencies as such. Apart from him, Ifrah considers her husband as one of her greatest helpers for he has supported her throughout.

At the moment, Ifrah is a mother of three and she confesses that it is really tiring being a parent, a business owner as well a student for she is still studying and is hoping to register for KCPE exams this year. Regardless of all that, she still has great hopes for the future as she wants to have her own electronics wholesale for the entire South Coast. She believes she is on the right track heading towards her goal of being very successful.

Her advice to young people is, and I quote, ‘not everyone is capable of taking challenges but in life you must take risks such as taking loans, to get where you want. Remember that it takes a shilling to make two therefore do not hesitate to come to organizations like KYBT for they are more helpful than banks.’

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