Meet Serah

“I am passionate about serving humanity. I strive to make people feel good about themselves. I get the best feeling connecting with people and putting a smile on their faces.”  

As Serah Kariuki shares these thoughts it quickly becomes clear she has always found purpose in caring for and assisting others. 

Serah, a 28-year-old Kenyan woman, has not had an easy path in life yet her struggles have neither diminished her optimism nor her desire to help others.  

She comes from a large family. One which, regardless of the financial challenges they faced, was filled with love and support. After completing high school, Serah chose to enroll in Beauty Plus College to pursue Beauty Therapy. Serah enjoyed her time at Beauty Plus as it affirmed what she knew to be true: her passion was helping people and assisting them in feeling better about themselves and their situations.  

Aware being a beautician might not provide a stable economic future Serah, ever resourceful, diversified her skillset and enrolled in an IT certification program. With a second certification earned Serah was optimistic her knowledge and skills would make it easy for her to find a well-paying job.  

Life, however, had different plans for Serah and her now five-year-old son. Instead of being quickly hired she was challenged for years by the maze of job hunting. 

“I struggled to make ends meet, however, I knew I had to work my way out of my family’s situation. I did any job to ensure there was food on the table.”  

One such job was choosing to become an entrepreneur. Alone with her small family’s mounting financial needs, Serah decided to sell fermented porridge in a low-income residential area of Nairobi. The job provided enough to support her family and offered a needed service, yet Serah knew something bigger awaited her. 

She persisted in sending out resumes and searching for opportunities. One such opportunity was a job at Artcaffé. Serah believed the restaurant, a local fixture which defined itself as not only a café but a place of inspiration and innovation, would be the key to unlocking a new life for her and her son. She was right, yet not in the way she could ever have envisioned.  

Serah unsuccessfully interviewed at Artcaffé four times. The fifth time, however, was her breakthrough: she was finally hired. Serah was working what she believed to be her perfect job: ensuring satisfaction with each customer she served.   

It was through this commitment to service excellence Serah met Jacquiline Lidonde, Next Step Foundation’s Head of Corporate Partnerships. Impressed by her vivacious personality and demeanor, Jacquiline grew curious to learn Serah’s story and initiated a conversation. 

Through the seemingly serendipitous connection created that day Serah gained momentum toward economic stability and independence.  

The Next Step Foundation submitted her resume to 4G Capital, a Kenya-based microfinance firm. This submission quickly led to an interview and her being placed in a job as a Debt Collector in the Loans Collections Unit.  

In her current role Sareh is able to fully utilize all her gifts and talents. She interacts with customers from diverse backgrounds and continues to grow in her customer service and interpersonal skills.  

I am forever indebted to Next Step Foundation. You have empowered me through opportunity. I am financially more set and able to spend time with my son as I now work manageable hours. Thank you Next Step for supporting, empowering and giving skills to people like me.”  

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