It is obvious that many Kenyans are struggling to earn a living during this season, when the country and the entire world is fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.
But Mr. Elijah Ntokoiwuan,31, though living with disability has waived house rent for his ten tenants in Majengo Estate, Narok town who pay Sh12,000 a month to enable them cope with the hard times occasioned by the global pandemic.
Ntokoiwuan has also asked his two taxi drivers to keep their daily earnings during this season until a permanent solution is found to contain the new virus.
At the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak in March, the merciful landlord had waived the entire amount of rent for two months and now that the period has elapsed, he has asked his tenants to only pay only half of the amount.
“These are hard economic times and I have asked my tenants who have always been faithful in paying their rents to pay half of the money. The same goes to my two taxi drivers whom I have asked to pocket any revenue they are earning during this difficult season,” he reiterated.
Ntokoiwuan was born with severe mobility disability but has defied all odds to become a successful businessman in Narok town, earning about Sh. 200, 000 monthly from his real estate and transport businesses.
“I am a living example that no human is limited. I can achieve what any other person can achieve because I believe I am only abled differently,” he said.
Narrating his path of success from rags to riches Ntokoiwuan said he comes from a humble ground, born in Ng’oswani village in Majimoto ward in Narok South Sub County in a family of six siblings, being the only disabled among them.
“My parents and siblings have been the pillar of my success story today because they have held my hand while giving me total support since I was born to be the man I am today,” said the young entrepreneur with pride.
Ntokoiwuan went to a normal school for his primary education and sat for Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) in 1994 where he scored 350 marks, a result that gives him direct entry to secondary school, but did not make it as his parents could not afford the required school fees.
“I did not further my education to secondary school because my parents tried their best but were unable to raise the requisite fees,” Ntokoiwuan narrates.
In 1997 three years down the line after finishing KCPE, he left his biological home after one of his friends known as Joseph Kamau took him to Narok town and accommodated him at his house.
“In 2015 I came up with a plan to raise money so that I can start a business through any kind of investments and provide for myself, and I decided to hold a fund drive,” he said.
He said he only managed to raise Sh60,000 but his friend, a councilor then, who was the invited chief guest did not attend but bought him land and built him self-contained house at Majengo estate in Narok town.
“I could not express my joy at the sight of the house which I rented out so as to generate some income,” Ntokiwan said.
Narok being a wildlife area, some donors came out and acquired land from the community living in his home area and neighborhood so that they could set up a wildlife conservancy.
They therefore enrolled children of owners of the lands that is communally owned to have shares in the conservancy to which Ntokoiwuan`s name was put forward by his father.
In 2015 the conservancy gave Ntokoiwuan a 48 acre land as shares in the group, which enabled him to become entitled to a Sh 2.5 million loan from the group that he used to buy another plot in Narok town.
“I want to expand my real estate business because it brings a more stable income yet easy for me to manage,” he continued.
He now earns a total of Sh120, 000 monthly from the houses which have since enabled him to acquire capital to buy two taxis that gives him Sh45, 000 each per month.
His wealth has increased ever since as he also owns a flock of about 200 sheep and much more property.
Ntokoiwuan further explains that most people with disability are always looked down upon as lesser human beings, amid stereotypes that they often beg for money to fend for themselves.
However, Ntokoiwuan story is one that gives hope to persons living with disability and a source of encouragement to them to know that one can do anything they put their heart into their heart to become a successful person in the society.
He says no one knows when this pandemic which has taken a heavy toll on everyone will come at an end and therefore we should all act in a humanly manner and try help anyone in need.
The kind landlord is further calling on other rental house owners in the country to be sympathetic and compassionate to their tenants struggle to pay rent during in the face of hard realities occasioned by the global pandemic.
One of his tenants, Ms. Julian Nyambura, expressed her gratitude at this kind gesture saying this will help her to regain to recover after the current economic downturn.
“For the last two months, we have not paid a single coin to our landlord, yet he has continued to allow us to live in his houses. This is very kind and humble of him considering that he is physically challenged,” she said.
Yet another tenant Irene Siololo said the first day she entered the compound she was moved when she saw the young man moving in a wheel chair and attempted to give him Sh20 not knowing he was the landlord.
Siololo prayed to God to help her landlord to have more wealth, live a long and blessed life as he is among very few Kenyans with such a big heart. He surely deserves a notation in the annual conferment of state honours and awards.
By Ann Salaton