I just turned 30 and everything looks way different. I was born and raised in Mbita, Homabay County.

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A decade ago when I joined Moi Institute of Technology, now Rongo University, I knew everything would be smooth sailing with my diploma course in accountancy. It took three years before I cleared from the institution,  armed with a diploma in accounting.

I moved to Kisumu, as most of my friend did in search of employment. At the time my elder sister hosted me at her house as I kept praying and crawling away from unemployment.  Jobs were not forthcoming.

I made friends around Kondele and we'd together go hunting for menial jobs together. As the 2013 general elections were approaching, we resolved to form a group that would do just anything for the politicians. We were more than 20 in the group.

It was a do or die for us since we knew leaders and aspirants could easily pay us to push their agenda. Politicians who I cannot name used to hire us to disrupt their rivals’ meetings and rallies at a fee. We could earn between Sh100 and Sh150 per day.

My physic and vocal nature earned me the ring leader's job. I was the commander. 

The elections came and went. The politicians who used to hire us to do dirty jobs brushed us off since the elections were done and dusted. They could not help us find anything useful to do, leave alone jobs.

A single social media post by an organisation dubbed Rural Small Entrepreneurs (RSE) was my turning point. Today I own Sammycom cyber café in Kisumu. On a good day, I pocket at least Sh4,500.

Rural Small Entrepreneurs (RSE) had announced slots for those willing to join them for training opportunities in their facebook post.

A few days after making my application, they contacted me and offered general counselling. This helped me to come out of the violent life I was leaving as a ring leader in Kondele.

They declined my plea for employment. It was all I wanted. They could only train me.

According to Mr Victor Obingi, the organisation’s director, beneficiaries are picked through social media announcements. Recruits are then counselled and offered skill-based training on self-employed. 

Samuel Opollo is one fo the beneficiaries. He was trained and helped set up Sammycom cyber café in Kisumu. 

          Mr Sam Opollo at his cyber cafe in Kisumu [Source/Oliver Peter] 

"I used Sh148, 000 to set up the cyber in August 2017. On a good day, I can make up to Sh6, 000 while on a bad day I can make Sh2, 500. The starting capital was a grant from my highschool friend who is a banker. He is now happy that I am a reformed man," says Opollo. 

Most of his expenses go to rent (Sh20, 000 per month) and Sh5, 700 for monthly internet services. 

"My friend who gave me the money to start the cyber is very happy. He now knows that I am a changed man. I am very grateful to him. I later initiated the Kondele Youth for Change group with an aim of weeding out violence in Kondele. It is now a nice place as businesses can run for 24 hours. It is no more bloodshed in Kondele,” delights Opollo.

Since its inception, Rural Small Entrepreneurs (RSE) Organisation has sought to address youth-related issues as involvement in crime, prostitution, early marriages and curbing the idea of politicians using idle youth to cause chaos.

The training offered at the organization are in masonry, tailoring, graphics design, cybercafé management and plumbing.

They liaise with various intuitions and business to absorb their beneficiaries after training. 

“All this we do for free because we want our youth to have skills that are needed in the market,” he says the RSE director. They have been able to train over 150 youth since 2016, with most of them either employed or managing their own businesses.