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Visually-impaired woman succeeds in construction industry

Frashia Muthoni, a 30-year-old woman from Kongoini village in Murang’a with visual disability, has thrived in the highly competitive supplies and construction business.

Muthoni who is the founder of a company known as Frashia Life Limited, has constructed several roads and facilities such as dispensaries and classrooms across the country after being awarded tenders by various national and county government departments.

Speaking to KNA, Muthoni narrated how she lost her sight at the age of about 10 when she was in class six and how she has been thriving and achieving her dreams regardless of her disability.

“I was born with eye problems and I wore glasses all my childhood until I completely lost my sight at about the age of 10,” she said.

Muthoni explained how learning to live with visual disability was a great challenge for her because she had to move from her old school and join Thika Primary School for the Blind.

“I left all my friends and the familiar environment and went to a school where I started learning everything afresh,” she recalls.

“Learning braille was like going back to nursery school. I almost gave up and quit on education altogether,” she added.

According to Muthoni, most of her friends and neighbours distanced themselves from her and her family after she became blind, something which made her new experience even more challenging.

After secondary school, Muthoni joined Machakos Teacher’s College where she however realised education was not the career for her and she switched to Baraka Agricultural College in Molo where she acquired a certificate in agriculture. She later acquired a diploma in agriculture from the same college.

Muthoni first ventured in business in 2015 at South B estate in Nairobi where she was hawking avocados, eggs and liquid soap for one year.

In 2016, when she was pregnant with her son, the mother of one, changed to making handmade purses using beads at Kariokor market; a job she says was not as tasking as her first one.

“When I found out I was pregnant, I could not continue hawking anymore so I changed to making purses,” she said.

It was in 2017 that she founded her General Supplies and Construction company named Frashia Life Solutions at the time.

In 2019, a former classmate and friend who is an accountant joined her in business and she says he has been a great part of the journey as he handles the company finances.

“My friend Felix Ng’etich helps with filing tax returns and other business financial matters. He also helped me upgrade the company to Frashia Life Limited,” Muthoni said.

She fondly recalls how the first tender she got awarded in Kakamega gave her the financial breakthrough she had been hoping for. “That first job is the one that made me have faith in my business,” she says.

Muthoni observed that one of the major challenges she faces in her line of work is delayed payments after delivering goods or services.

“Sometimes you will bid and be awarded a tender then do the work but the payments may be delayed for months,” she notes.

“And of course because the business involves bidding, you may not always win the tender,” she added.

She however noted that the tenders she eventually gets are totally worth the wait and the effort.

“I usually take big jobs and my profits from each of the jobs I have done are at least Sh200, 000,” she said.

The business woman urged other persons with disabilities who are in business or intending to venture in business to do so without fear.

She challenged them to find a trustworthy business partner who would help them where their disability was a limitation.

“I found my friend and he has offered immeasurable help to me and my business,” she said noting that she knows it is not easy to find someone trustworthy especially where money is concerned.

She applauded the national government for being transparent and fair when it comes to awarding of tenders and asked the county governments to try and do the same.

Muthoni who has not abandoned her life’s dream of becoming a veterinary doctor is currently a first year student at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) where she is pursuing a degree in animal health and crop production.

Muthoni called upon all parents with disabled children to give them support and opportunities so that they could achieve their goals in life.

By Purity Mugo and Anita Omwenga

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