|Foster January Khembo: Sorjeni's Star|
|Monday, 04 June 2012 13:55|
Mr. Foster January Khembo is a man gifted with a teaching passion. Since 1982 he has woken up every morning to meet up a group of knowledge seeking students and contribute towards their educational prowess. He takes pride in witnessing the economic transformation in some of his former students who took learning seriously and are now reaping good fortunes.
“Some of my former students are Chief Executives, accountants, administrators, teachers and even doctors”, he emphasise. “I always feel enchanted seeing them drive good cars and living a comfortable life”.
In 2007, retirement almost ended his teaching passion but thanks to Nsanje Community SACCO for aiding him protract it. He now owns “Star Academy” in Nsanje district with an enrolment of about 200 students and has classes from form 1 to 4.
“Star academy, for long, was only a dream until the SACCO gave me a push. At Star Academy, we want to contribute to the country’s social economic development through provision of quality secondary education”, he says.
Born in 1954, Khembo hails from Sorjen Village, Traditional Authority Mbenje in Nsanje district. He first heard of SACCOs from a friend and later attended a SACCO Membership mobilisation campaign in Bangula.
“ I liked the idea of buying shares as it complemented my aspiration of saving little by little until I accumulate enough capital to open a hospitality investment at my time of retirement”, he says and quickly add that he without delay opened an account with the SACCO.
In 2009, using his personal savings, he bought a piece of land at Sorjen Trading Centre in Nsanje but failed to fully develop it due to limited resources.
“I started building a rest house but I underestimated the project’s total cost at the beginning hence failed to complete”, he says while reckoning that the dream was almost heading for failure until he approached Nsanje Community SACCO for a loan.
Today if you are travelling to Nsanje, you can make a stopover at Sorjen Trading Centre for a drink or a sleep over at Star Rest house. He credits the SACCO for fuelling the materialisation of this long time dream and also for laying a foundation for more business opportunities.
“This made me trust SACCOs even more. The secret I discovered was that when you pay back loans honestly you improve your record and can be trusted with a bigger one”.
Wanting to diversify his business, in 2010 he embarked on a market research that culminated into an idea of a private school in the area. Banking on his vast teaching experience, he believed the school business wouldn’t fail and hence dared the SACCO for a bigger loan.
“It is money from that loan coupled with my personal savings that I used in building the classroom blocks for the school”
However, typical of many budding businesses, the initiative faced a lot of setbacks though he remained unmoved in his commitment to seeing this business thrive.
Today he walks with pride as a very exceptional teacher who turned his teaching experience into a profitable investment. He has also provided employment to other retired teachers, a development he counts as a milestone achievement.
“Not many retired teachers can get close to my achievements,” he quickly points out. Sounding very motivational, he stresses “when there is assistance, dreams become within reach and challenges can be turned into opportunities”.
Most importantly, Baxter has improved the quality of his life and the family. “I have a very smart, clean and well furnitured home” smiling he adds “my children are well educated and living a comfortable life”.
All these achievements have made him an envy of his community.
Policy Makers Symposium on Growth and Development of Savings and Credit Cooperatives in Malawi
Date: May 27 – 28, 2013
Venue: Bingu International Conference Centre
Symposium Theme: Embracing Financial Cooperatives as a...
Safe and sound SACCOs for everyone in Malawi.
To support SACCOs in Malawi on a sustainable basis to promote good access to quality and affordable financial services to members in accordance with international cooperative principles.