At least 1,800 destitute young people from Meru and Tharaka Nithi counties have been empowered with business skills in a training sponsored by Zoe Kenya, a Non-governmental organisation operating in the two counties.
The youth, majority of them orphans and others comprising the most vulnerable in their communities, were trained and presented with business start-up kits that will enable them to set up their own businesses and start earning a living.
Some of the beneficiaries, especially girls, were trained as beauticians, hairstylists, and other courses and awarded equipment and start-up capital to sustain themselves, and their families.
The 1,800 are among a section of the many young people from the two counties who have benefited from a youth empowerment programme run by Zoe Kenya.
During a graduation ceremony at Maili Tatu in Igembe Central which was attended by Meru Senator Mithika Linturi, Zoe Kenya CEO Reagan Kaberia, and other leaders, the youth, most in their late teens and early 20s, gave testimony of how they had been able to gain financial security after wallowing in poverty for long.
Patrick Safari, one of the beneficiaries of the programme narrated how he was forced to discontinue his education after Form-Four and engaged in menial jobs at Mikinduri market in Tigania Central to survive.
Through a social worker who linked him to Zoe Kenya, Safari said he was able to undergo a business training and financial management course and granted start-up capital to start his own business.
At the moment, three years after the training, he runs a thriving retail business in the same town and has since started a poultry farm rearing 300 chicken.
Safari said that he has been able to buy a motorcycle and in addition has employed two young people on his farm.
He said he aims to expand his transport, farm, and shop ventures.
Mr Kaberia said the organisation which depends on well-wishers who contribute money to help out the most vulnerable children in the community, had had a positive impact in the community and appealed to Kenyans of goodwill to chip in.
He added that they have limited funds which they use to train the youth and provide them with funds to start small businesses and called on groups in Kenya to make sure the most vulnerable are taken care of.
Senator Linturi said both the national and county governments should identify organisations that had positively impacted community development and offer them grants to do more.
By Dickson Mwiti