Mentor Sacco member counts her blessings one by one

Jane Maina, a mother of two, joined Mentor Sacco two decades ago. She shares her story on how the Sacco came to her rescue when she was first employed and transformed her life with our writer Malachi Motano.

Jane Maina was excited when she was hired by the Teachers Service Commission two decades ago.

Her happiness was, however, dampened by the fact that she could not open a bank account because she could not afford the minimum deposit required to maintain an account.

“When I got employed by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) as a teacher, my salary could not meet the Sh10,000 minimum deposit required by Barclays Bank (now ABSA),” recalls Maina.

Luckily, her colleagues at Mbiri Primary School in Murang’a told her about Mentor Sacco of which they were members.

The Sacco would not only solve her banking services problem but also help her realise her dreams, they told her.

She immediately joined the Sacco and after six months, she was able to secure a loan to pay her university fees.

“I had joined Kenyatta University but did not have money to pay the fees so I borrowed Sh40,000 from the Sacco,” she says.

Soon after, she decided to transfer her children to a better school and the Sacco once again came to her aid.

Although she had not fully serviced the first loan, the Sacco had top up products that enables one to take a loan to complete the previous one and remain with some money.

“The school was very expensive with the admission fee alone being around Sh10,000. I had to buy new uniform and many books. So I topped up with Sh16,000. That was in 1992 and that was a lot of money then,” Maina told Sacco Review in an interview.

After graduating from KU where she specialized in special needs education, she was transferred to Our Lady of Mercy Centre in Nairobi to work at the resource center.

It was to Mentor Sacco that she had to turn for money to move to city and start life in Nairobi.

“I did not have the money to move with my family to Nairobi. I borrowed an emergency loan. Although I already had many loans, they listened to me. That is why I praise Mentor,” she says.

When she settled in Nairobi, she decided to buy a plot in the city where she could build her own house and stop paying rent.

But because her savings and investments were not enough to secure a piece of land and build a home, she was left with only with one option – her Sacco.

“I sold a plot which I had bought in Murang’a and bought a plot in Nairobi. Mentor gave me Sh300,000. The money was not little but could only build the foundation. After two years, I went back to them and they gave me Sh600,000.

Still the money was not enough to complete the house and she had to go for another Sh70,000 top up.

“Today I am a proud owner of a house in Mimbley Estate in Ruiru courtesy of Mentor Sacco,” she says.

By 2014, Maina had become a Curriculum Support Officer.

Her work involved a lot of travel and she needed a car.

“I went back to my Sacco and I told them it was bad for me to keep borrowing a car or hitching rides in colleagues’ vehicles. Mentor Saco gave me a top up of Sh300,000 to complete the previous Sh600,000 and I used the balance to buy a small car. That is how I acquired my first car,” Maina told Sacco Review.

In 2017, she borrowed Sh2 million to buy a bigger car.

Mentor Sacco has also greatly helped her educate her two sons and realise their academic aspirations.

“My first born completed his studies at Strathmore University while the younger one is at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa,” she says.

Thanks to the support of the sacco, she is currently building a restaurant business in which she has partnered with six others.

“Currently I have a big loan of Sh3.6 million to see Plateau Lounge and Restaurant, a business which I partnered with other six individuals, grows to fruition,” she says.

Maina says that since she joined the Sacco two decades ago, she has never lacked money to meet her needs and develop her projects.

The secret, she says, is to earn the Sacco’s confidence by keeping one’s side of the bargain.

“When I ask for a loan, they simply tell me to walk into the nearest branch. And because I have many teachers who I convinced to join the Sacco, I can always get guarantors,” says Maina.

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