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Feature: Beating unemployment norm in Kenya with natural beauty products

06 September 2016, 20:11

Nakuru (Xinhua) -- Presently, securing a formal job in Kenya is becoming a near impossibility for graduates as a growing number of firms close shop given change of intra- and inter-country policies coupled with unstable Kenyan currency subduing corporate profits.

Caroline Kipyegon, an interior design graduate from a local university, went through the harrowing experience of seeking employment with no success until she opted to capitalize on her hobby -- natural skin care products.

"It is really crazy. I applied for jobs and went for interviews. I was told I was qualified but they all told me, they did not have a chance for me," Kipyegon who graduated last year told Xinhua on Sunday.

"But life is not easy either for my friends as some have lost their jobs because their employers could not sustain them anymore or companies they were working for were shut down," she added.

While she wished to get some work and build up on capital to start a business, the push into setting off something of her own came too soon since she could not secure a job anywhere.

"I do not want to go through the same experience again. It is depressing. We have so many graduates in Kenya yearning for a job," stated Kipyegon.

The World Bank recognizes Kenya as one of the countries with the highest rates of unemployed people of ages ranging from 15 to 24.

In its 2016 report on 'Kenya and Youth and Unemployment: Problems and Solutions', the global body puts the unemployment level for the age group at 17 percent, which is currently a major issue both local and international development partners are striving to tackle.

Unlike many other graduates who would rather keep on holding onto the faith of finally getting the formal job or use lack of capital as an obstacle to start an income generating activity, Kipyegon chose to advance her liking for women cosmetics.

"I started making the beauty products while in campus but it was just hobby. I actually gave them to my friends and colleagues for free," said Kipyegon who ventured into making the cosmetics early this year.

It was out of the socio-economic push that Kipyegon, who is based in the Rift Valley County of Nakuru, found herself investing in a cross-border sector totally unrelated to her training.

She argued that natural products are healthy since they are free from chemicals which can be harmful to the human skin.

Out of her passion for maintaining a natural skin care, the graduate delved into studying extensively on how to make the beauty products.

She makes her products from herbs, leaves and natural oils and plant extracts.

"The response has been good so far. I get very many referrals," noted the now young entrepreneur who mainly markets her products through the social media.

"Getting an education should not be limited to looking for a job or doing what you studied but opening the mind to try something different, " she noted.

- Xinhua


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