Department of Defence
Kamau Wairimu
Kenya National Disability Network
Zimmerman Estate

Supplying soldiers with roasted nuts gave me millions

Kamau Wairimu, 43, whose loading job ended only four months after starting on the job and leaving him disabled, says he has found financial stability selling roasted groundnuts. Ten years ago, he was involved in an accident at work that left him “30 percent disabled”.“My first job was in 1995 as a tout after I did my Form Four exams and got a C- (minus) that locked me out of university studies. This job ended tragically after only four months when the lorry got involved in a road accident that left me disabled,” he says.He was hospitalised for one year, got paralysed, and doctors ruled him out of demanding menial jobs.“This limited my opportunities in life since I was left with no body balance. I could not get back to my loading job. I had no skill to land me a formal job.”His uncle enrolled him for driving classes and later got a job of driving imported cars to a dealer’s showroom.He saved “diligently” and in 2008 was convinced that he was ready for self-employment. He had Sh50,000 savings and chose “adding value to groundnuts and cashew nuts and packaging them. Indeed, the small business was profitable as he had been tipped, giving him a profit of Sh100 per Sh30 invested.He got a thriving demand from muguka and miraa (khat) chewing people, who chew the leaves together with the nuts.

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He rented a room in Nairobi’s Zimmerman Estate, using the location as his value addition factory. A deep fryer, sufurias as well as charcoal stoves were his tools, costing him Sh30,000.Two sacks each of cashew and ground nuts were the raw materials that put him on the road to financial stability.He landed some bulk buyers like supermarkets and shops, convincing himself this was the “breakthrough I was searching for in my life.”Through the Kenya National Disability Network, he started supplying the Department of Defence with roasted nuts in 2009.“I was required to supply 3,000 kilos of roasted ground and cashew nuts to DoD, a tender that has been running uninterrupted.” He now has three vans that transport the supplies and has ventured into Uganda and Tanzania markets.“Today I can claim to be a self-made millionaire despite my disability.”

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