JULIUS SUNDA:  FROM A TENANT TO A PROPERTY OWNER

Julius Sunda shaking hands with Florence Njeri, relationship officer VisionFund Kenya.
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Vision Fund has helped an ambitious trader to build a residential building

By Joseph Macharia

One of the guiding pillars of VisionFund is to improve livelihoods of ordinary people through impact financing. This is exemplified by Julius Sunda’s story of financial transformation from a tenant to  an owner  of a residential property in Kariobangi  suburb  –   approximately ten kilometers to the North East of Nairobi  city’s  central  business district.

In search of greener pastures,  Sunda came to Nairobi from Kisii in 1989. He ran a small shop in Kayole to make ends meet. Then in 2001, Sunda first heard of Vision Fund while he was running his shop. His life would take a new trajectory ever since. Eager to grow his business, he joined Vision Fund in 2002 with a group of five other members to receive funding.

The beginning

“The first loan they gave me was Kshs. 40,000 which I used to boost my business,” he happily recollects with a grin.He eventually repaid the loan and took another one to expand his shop business by stocking goods as well as financing university studies for his children.

His loan limit gradually increased as he got more financing. With an inflow of new funding, Sunda’s shop business thrived and this prompted him to think of his dream of acquiring a plot. By 2007, he had accumulated sizable savings which he combined with a loan to buy a plot in Kariobangi.

Baby steps

He immediately set up one single room on his plot. “My loan limit grew to Kshs. 100,000 and this   enabled me to build a single room,” Sunda shares. It started in small way. Every year he would take a loan and make some construction. As a result his loan limit increased gradually.

Eventually, the loan limit graduated to half a million. The money went into building the foundation which would have a capacity to support up to four storeys. By the time he was done with the ground floor, two years were over.

Slow but steady, construction work continued. Loans from VisionFund were instrumental in the progress of his project.  His faithfulness in servicing them enabled the limit to grow to   Kshs. 800,000. Still with the business running, he channeled the money and added another floor.

“I used to make sure that each year I was taking a loan and investing it in my  building project,” says Sunda who had increased tenants to eight. The increase of tenants meant that he had less difficulty in servicing his loans. The building which has both single and double-room units was repaying itself.

Cash flow machine

Slowly his loans would allow him to add another floor. Subsequently, tenants doubled from eight to sixteen, before reaching   twenty in 2023. He has not yet completed constructing   the building which is expected to have four floors. He anticipates to complete doing so with a loan from Vision Fund. His previous loan was over one million shillings. He used it to build the second floor.

He notes that the property has improved his cash flow: “I don’t have much difficulty of repaying my loans. When I borrow, I put money to work which generates income as rent. From the cash flow I earn a living, use some of it to boost business and improve my life.”

Sunda’s apartment at Kayole Junction that was financed by VisionFund Kenya.

Benefits

Sunda has been working with VisionFund for over two decades from which he says he has seen the fruits. In that period he has accomplished a lot. “I have educated all my children to university level – who are now employed –  using money from VisionFund,” he remarks.

As a group of six members, he says that all of them are home owners and have remarkably improved their standards of living. “Those who didn’t have a plot have bought and built; I am happy to report that all of them own their homes,” Sunda notes. “We all pay our loans   responsibly without being reminded by our officer,” he adds.  Besides, their designated officer has routinely taken them through lessons in personal finance management.

Florence Njeri an officer at VisionFund in charge of   Sunda’s account shares how they have been working together: “I came to know Sunda in 2012 after he had already joined Vision Fund.  He had a vision of owning a plot.”   The lender helped him to achieve his dream. 

TEAMWORK FROM L-R: Hotensia Wangui, head of marketing, Tabitha Wambua, branch manager, Kariobangi, Julius Sunda, Florence Njeri, relationship officer and Josphat Makori, administration.

”For the period I’ve worked with him, he has never experienced   challenges   in educating his children,”says  Njeri.  “They have gone up to university level without putting a strain on his business,” she adds. Sunda has a good track   record with the lender because of servicing his loans properly. Currently, he is servicing a loan and hopefully   by October, 2024 he will be finalizing the last installment.  After that, he   is set to take another higher loan (over a million) to enable him finish the building.

Final word

Most of Sunda’s friends   are amazed at his success.  They have therefore decided to follow his steps by joining VisionFund to enhance their financial stability. “I encourage VisionFund to continue helping other people because they are doing a good service. If you take loans from VisionFund and invest correctly it will help you,” he states. “Nevertheless,   if you take a loan and indulge in leisure, the consequences will be dire,” he cautions.

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