WorldRemit is a UK-based online money transfer company. The firm becomes the latest global company targeting remittances to Kenya by riding on the success of mobile money transfer service M-Pesa to send cash directly to recipients.
A consumer media, Seppo Piisola is thinking about Kenya again. Driving through the quiet roads of rural Finland in his 1952 Volkswagen Beetle, the 59 years old dreams of his adopted homeland.
Six thousand miles away, in rural Kenya, 29 year old Jennifer Mwetarin folds her white stick, maneuvers onto the back of a friend’s motorbike and begins her daily commute to college.
A long-time friendship
Their worlds could not be more different, yet Seppo and Jennifer have, for more than 15 years, maintained a friendship that has changed both their lives.
Seppo first met Jennifer when she was four years old. He and his wife were working as missionaries in a Maasai region of Kenya. They knew that being born blind and disabled, Jennifer would face adversities in life.
The Piisolas’ felt an immediate connection with Jennifer and decided to help her with her upbringing.
And they sure did help. Seppo built the first school that Jennifer attended, along with other children in the area. When the couple returned to Finland after 11 years in Kenya, they continued to send money to Jennifer – although they had to rely on slow, expensive banking services.
Time passed and technology evolved, allowing Seppo to message and speak to Jennifer on a regular basis. Her Android smartphone with its text-to-speech feature lets her hear what she cannot see.
But one problem remained – getting money to Jennifer meant sending her on regular excursions to remote pick-up locations with a potentially dangerous journey home carrying cash.
A life-changing discovery
It was on Facebook that Seppo spotted an advert for WorldRemit, an online service that would allow him to send international money transfers to MPESA, Kenya’s popular Mobile Wallet.
Financial support now arrives instantly on Jennifer’s phone. She can use the money immediately at the many retailers that accept electronic payments via MPESA. And for those occasions when Jennifer needs to cash-out funds, there is the massive network of neighbourhood agents – kiosks, shops, supermarkets, garages and even butchers servicing MPESA users.
Fulfilling needs, rather than just sending money
There has been another powerful effect of switching to an instant, low cost money transfer service. Rather than sending a monthly lump sum, Seppo is now able to pay for specific needs when they arise – a surprise household bill, a trip to the supermarket, or dinner for Jennifer and a friend.
Those special moments and the conversations around them mean Seppo and Jennifer remain a vital part of each other’s lives.
Today, Jennifer excels at her studies and is living as independently as any other young people in her community. And for Seppo, so far from Jennifer his beloved Kenya, that treasured connection remains as strong as ever.
Watch the video below:
For more information, visit: www.worldremit.com