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Earning a Living From Pastries

Earning a Living From Pastries

By MOHI on Mar 28, 2023 5:31:00 PM

GERB4507Bernard was born and brought up in Kisii (which is a rural town about 148 miles from Nairobi). It was not until 2015 that he came to Nairobi in search of a better life. Being fresh from high school, the only jobs he could get were manual labor which paid a pittance.

“Life in Nairobi was a daily struggle for me,” Bernard says. “I came from a humble background and I did not have much hope for a bright future. I worked in construction sites to earn a living as I tried to figure out what would be next for me.”

While Bernard had no idea that he would end up as a successful businessman, the factors that would bring him to this point were already lining up. It started with a phone call from his cousin who encouraged him to leave Nairobi and join him in Njoro (a rural town that is about 85 miles from Nairobi). 

When Bernard got to Njoro, his cousin introduced him to the pastry-making business and he got a job with one of the local businessmen. He did this work for about three months then the business closed down unexpectedly in December of 2016.


“When I lost my job, I thought about seeking employment once again, but I decided against it,” Bernard says. “I had learned all aspects of the pastry business and I thought it best to venture out on my own. Njoro already had enough people doing this business so I opted to leave and set up my business in Molo (some 22 miles away).”

With the few coins he had saved Bernard came to Molo, rented his current premises and started his pastry-making business. 

Within a short time, he was selling about 200 pastry pieces a day and was soon able to buy a bicycle which he used to deliver the commodity to the local shops. Business was booming and soon Bernard had to hire three people to assist him. He bought a second-hand motorcycle, which replaced his bicycle, and made it possible for him to extend his supply reach.

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“Things were looking up for me,” Bernard says. “The business had its challenges, but nothing I could not deal with. I felt very hopeful about my future. Then in 2020, COVID hit and the sales dropped significantly. Now that I had employees who had families depending on them, I felt I needed to do something extra to survive. I ventured into farming and this turned out to be a big mistake!” He says.

Bernard says he invested about 200,000 Kenyan shillings (approx $1,500 USD) into this venture. He was farming potatoes and a sudden change in weather ruined his entire crop. He did not make a shilling from his efforts and feeling defeated, Bernard retreated back to his pastry business in order to lick his wounds and recoup.

“I had saved for a long time to have that kind of money and losing it as I did was very discouraging,” he says. “I thank God because it was during this low moment that one of my employees told me about MOHI. Being a parent at the Coram Deo school, she knew about the microfinance services MOHI offers. I immediately registered with them and started saving towards taking a loan.”


Bernard saved aggressively on a weekly basis and within one month, he qualified to take a 100,000 shilling (about $750 USD) loan payable within six months. He used the money to buy a brand new motorcycle which he used to widen his market reach now delivering his product to markets outside Molo town.

He continued saving and also repaying the loan and after six months, he applied for his second loan. He qualified for double the first amount and is currently servicing the 200,000 shilling loan. Bernard used the money to purchase a third motorcycle and also set up a MPESA shop (mobile banking).

Today, Bernard is an employer of 10 and his daily output is about 7,200 pastry pieces which the team packages into about 1,200 packets. Bernard says he distributes to the entire Molo region and to neighboring towns, he also has clients who come to collect the pastries for themselves.


“From the time I partnered with MOHI, I have seen my business just explode,” Bernard says. “The loans I have taken have enabled me to expand my reach in terms of distribution which has increased my business’ profitability. I am grateful for this financing that comes with such friendly terms where they give us enough time to repay what we borrow. This has changed not just my life, but the lives of the 10 people I work with.”

Bernard says he is now working hard to repay the loan and take another one so he can get a piece of land and put up a better kitchen. His plan is to have his current premises purely for distribution and collection. We are ready to partner with him and make this dream a reality when the time comes.


We give God the glory each time we see community members rise from generational poverty and become financially independent.  Economic empowerment is one of MOHI’s key pillars and we invite you to pray for us and partner with us as we work to bring lasting economic transformation to as many people as possible.