In the current economic landscape, youth unemployment poses a significant challenge, compelling many to rely on their parents or guardians for financial support.
Unlike most youths who aspire to secure white-collar jobs after completing Form 4 or college, there are young Kenyans like Nisha Jepkoech who defy convention.
At 23, Nisha ventured into the chapati business, a decision that sustains her daily life and empowers her to meet her basic needs and support her parents.
Rather than waiting for traditional employment opportunities, Nisha’s entrepreneurial spirit led her to establish a small chapati kiosk in Nandi Hills town.
In an interview with KNA, she explained that her decision to enter the chapati business was driven by a desire to avoid idleness and break free from dependency on her parents.
“Just like any other young lady, I have a lot of needs, which is why I work hard to earn a living rather than depend on my parents. With this business that has lasted for two years, I can provide all personal effects that a lady requires, pay Sh5,000 rent, and put food on the table,” she observed.
Starting with just a 2kg packet of wheat flour daily, Jepkoech’s entrepreneurial journey has evolved significantly. Currently, she prepares and sells a whole bundle per day, generating a daily income of Sh 4,500. Jepkoech has expanded her offerings to include tea and chips, further boosting her daily earnings to Sh 5,500.
The surge in demand has prompted Jepkoech to expand her operations. Currently, she has employed two additional ladies, primarily responsible for assisting customers at the kiosk and facilitating chapati deliveries to workplaces, markets, and businesses.
“I have employed two ladies who assist me in my kiosk, for whom I pay Sh300 per day. They help me supply orders to my customers while I am busy cooking. I know that by the time they leave this place, they will have acquired the skill of chapati cooking that I also learnt from my mother,” she explained, adding that cooking chapati is an easy skill that can be learned through observation and practice.
Driven by a vision of owning a substantial restaurant in the future, her daily routine starts at 5:00 am, ensuring that by 6:00 am, freshly prepared chapatis are ready to cater to early morning customers.
She closes her chapati kiosk at 10:00 pm each day. It remains closed on Sundays, which she dedicates to worship and rest.
Jepkoech shared that her customer base is diverse, catering to a wide range of individuals from office workers to boda boda riders, business professionals, and students.
Jepkoech highlighted a concerning trend, noting that many young people experience depression as a result of the scarcity of white-collar job opportunities. However, she emphasized that individuals can create their own employment opportunities.
According to her, numerous businesses, such as those centered around minimal capital and basic skills, like chapati making, boiled eggs, and roasting maize, offer viable avenues for youths to pursue financial independence.
Jepkoech encourages young people to seize these accessible entrepreneurial opportunities as a means to overcome unemployment challenges and foster financial autonomy.
“With the current economic times, youths should venture into the informal sector as they look for good-paying jobs. Youths, especially ladies, should double their efforts to be independent,” she advised.