29 Jun Seema Leina: Determined Dreamer Becomes Successful Entrepreneur

Even when COVID-19 hobbled Kenya’s tourism industry, Seema Leina did not give up on her dreams. As one of our 1st Unstoppable Scholar graduates, she received a college education and a diploma in tourism management as well as completing the two-year curriculum in our Unstoppable Leadership Academy. Then, when the pandemic interrupted her plans, she turned to Unstoppable Foundation once again.

Seema Leina fought most of her life to be educated in rural Kenya, defying the path her older sisters had walked.

One of 14 children, Seema watched sister after sister be married off at the age of 12 or 13 to an older man. But she wanted more. And to achieve her dreams, she knew she had to go to school.

Her father was of the strong belief that only boys should be educated. That is the way things are done in their village. But due to her persistence, Seema’s father reluctantly agreed to allow her to go to primary school, where she proved to be a formidable student. And because of her hard work and commitment to pursuing her education, she received a full scholarship to the top girls’ high school in the region.

And then… thanks to the generosity of supporters Sherry and John Phelan, Seema was awarded a full scholarship and became part of the first class of our Unstoppable Scholars Program to study Tourism & Hospitality at a college in Narok county, graduating with a diploma in the summer of 2019.

Seema looked forward to beginning her career in Kenya’s thriving tourism and safari industry.

And then . . . the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, shutting down the travel industry, and devastating Seema’s plans.

But that didn’t stop her! Seema didn’t just learn about the Tourism industry at college. Through the Unstoppable Leadership Academy, she also learned leadership and entrepreneurial skills, while developing her critical thinking abilities. She also learned to capitalize on the resilience and persistence that made her a determined and successful student.

Seema took these skills and made her own opportunity. She went back to her village and applied for an Unstoppable Foundation Microloan to begin a poultry rearing business, starting with 100 chicks.

In addition to raising poultry, she knew she needed to create other streams of income, as well.

Seema explains, “I realized early in my journey that I had to diversify my sources of income to ensure that I was able to grow my business as well as meet all my financial responsibilities.”

Seema has expanded her business to include a retail store and has purchased 3 acres of land where she grows maize and beans — employing 4 people so far.

Seema’s businesses have made her, a young woman, the family breadwinner, which is typically reserved for males in her community. Her entrepreneurial spirit is contagious. She works closely on her business ventures with her proud mother, who manages a 2nd batch of chicks.

Seema’s business income supports 3 of her younger siblings’ school fees, as well as pre-primary school fees for her own son.

Thanks to Unstoppable supporters, the investment in Seema’s education has paid dividends by expanding economic opportunities not only for her, but her family and community.