Two youths venture into Agri-business to avoid crime

According to a report by Meru County Assembly, a total of 40,000 boda boda motorbikes are in operation within the region, with a majority of riders being youths from the age of 18 years to 40.

However with the high influx of boda boda, the report indicates that there has been a high crime rate related to boda boda business and operators of the motorbike taxis.

But two youths who hail from Majengo slums, which is notorious for high levels of criminal activities amongst the youths, have chosen a different mode of making ends meet, shying off from the obvious boda boda business which is common amongst high-school leavers and graduates in Meru County.

According to Shadrack Thuranira nd Ezekiel Mwongela, their decision was informed by the bad influence boda boda business has had amongst many youths, who often use the business as a means of committing crime, like snatching of phones from pedestrians along the sidewalks of Meru town.

Both Thuranira and Mwongela have chosen to venture into agri-business through selling roasted maize along Kathita Bridge, saying that their business has less chances of being influenced by bad company and behaviour that often accompany boda boda youths.

“We open shop at around 8 am depending on the weather but most of the time, we sell maize in the evening and close at 8.30 pm, and since we are located by the roadside, chances of getting involved in drugs and other substance abuse or criminal activities are very low indeed,” said Mwongela.

The two are students at Mount Kenya University and Mukira technical and vocational education and training center respectively, with Mwongela pursuing Bachelor of Arts in Education, whereas Thuranira is studying for a certificate in electrical engineering.

Both say that their desire to pursue higher education has motivated them to seek every means of financing their school fees, through their maize business, while at the same time serving as a role models to various youths who have dropped out of school due to poverty and ventured into crime, through boda boda business.

“Today, just by observation, many youths are suffering due to hard economic times and most of them choose to involve themselves in drugs and crime, as they seek an easy way of making a living,” said Thuranira.

Mwongela also says that having been raised by a single mum, and after several attempts at jobs like being a hotel waiter and a security guard, he realized that his mum could not afford to pay his university fees.

Determined to break the cycle of poverty in his family, Mwongela decided to venture into selling roasted maize by the road side with a Sh1000 he had borrowed from a friend.

“I was raised by a single mum and after my KCSE in 2019, l realized that my mum couldn’t afford to take me to the university and therefore l took it upon myself to find a way of both helping my mum, and at the same time pursuing my education,” said Mwongela.

He says that ever since he started his business, he has been able to pay for his school fees partially, which amounts to Sh110,000 per year and the rest through HELB loan.

On a good day, Thuranira and Mwongela pocket a profit of Sh1000 each from their maize business, however their success has often been met with various challenges, as they are often harassed by the county officials who prohibit selling by the roadside in the early hours of the day.

They are now calling on the youths especially from poverty stricken families not to give up on their dreams, but to get their hands on available business opportunities and further their dreams.

“I urge youths not to get into crime as an excuse of looking for a means of survival, but use the small available capital they can get so as to start a small business that can guarantee them small but consistent income every day,” said Thuranira.



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