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Janet Chamia: From Walking to School Barefoot to Owning a Resort in Upscale Nyali

Janet Chamia.
Janet Chamia. Photo/Facebook.

Janet Chamia beat all odds to become the owner of a three-star facility in Nyali.

The owner of Jacyjoka Apartments also serves as the president of Skal International Kenya Coast and the chair of the Kenya Association of Women in Tourism- Mombasa chapter.

During a recent interview with The Standard, the businesswoman explained her steady rise to the top:

Background and Education 

Janet grew up in Kitui’s Ndundune village as the third born in a family of nine children, five girls and four boys.

Her father was an assistant chief and her mother a peasant farmer. Life growing up was tough and she attended school barefoot.

She started wearing shoes after joining Coast Girls in Mombasa. Later, she would pursue a clerical course at the current Technical University of Mombasa and also did language training at Alliance Francaise

Employment and Entrepreneurship

The entrepreneur then got a job in the front office and as a clerical officer at Shell Chemicals. She would also carry and sell peanuts and homemade ice pops.

After leaving employment, she opened a wholesale in Changamwe but later sold it due to insecurity. Trying her hand at various things, she did the business of exporting handicrafts abroad. However, when her husband passed away, the mother of three left the business. She began to toy with the idea of venturing into the hospitality industry.

By 2006, she had saved and decided to build a hotel on half an acre of land in Nyali she took a Sh2 million loan from Barclays and would later add another loan from Housing Finance to finish construction. The venture was an expensive affair and the money ran out before she completed the project. It wasn’t easy and at times the thought of giving up crossed her mind.

Her very first client was served with her household items. She also got mattresses from a friend who had purchased a couple with the hopes of using them when hosting larger groups in the upcountry.

The business slowly garnered traction and today hosts both local and international tourists. Located 7 kilometres from the city centre, it is also the training ground for those wishing to become cruise employees.