When Dreams Come to Life - The Story of Cynthia Mwikali

December 1, 2023

The cries of her neighbors mourning their child still echo in Cynthia Mwikali’s mind as she watches her own young children play in the safety of her living room. Growing up in Kibera, Africa’s largest slum, Cynthia was accustomed to the rusted metal homes separated by streams of sewage. “At the time I grew up in Kibera, there was feces everywhere,” she says, cringing.

“I wanted something different. I wanted to see people live decently, even the least of them. Even the poorest of the poor.”

But when her four-year-old neighbor fell into a sewage pit near her home and died, she began asking questions. “I thought to myself, why is sewage outside our house? Why are drains not covered?” After that, she was driven to take action. “I have never forgotten. I told God I would like to create beautiful spaces for people to live in.”  And against all odds, Cynthia moved out of the slum and built a career as a realtor. It was her joy to help families find homes, not just a place to live.

But in 2019, Cynthia had a dream that she couldn’t shake.

She dreamed she was graduating, and that her mother told her “sinapis” was where she would get to her “next level.” When she woke up, Cynthia had no idea what “sinapis” meant, but she believed God was speaking to her. At her mother’s advice, they fasted and prayed for discernment. After three days of wondering, Cynthia searched the word “sinapis” on her phone, and the address for our office in Nairobi popped up. Cynthia could hardly believe that “sinapis” was the name of a real organization in her city that offered faith-based entrepreneurship training! She says she “took the next available taxi” and signed up for our Entrepreneur Academy on the spot. 

Then COVID-19 hit. The real estate market dried up overnight, and Cynthia and her husband pivoted to make ends meet.

“We started a grocery shop and a small business in our neighborhood of Syokimao, applying what I was learning in class.”

These efforts got her family through the pandemic and provided for the needs of her neighbors. In 2021, she and her husband launched Tuscan Sun Builders Hardware, a building supply business that today employs 13 people. “Sinapis opened my eyes to know how to price things. To know how to treat people.”  Cynthia identified three principles that guide her as a Kingdom entrepreneur: how to work with faith, how to treat people with dignity, and how to operate with integrity. Of her current employees, she says, “They are happy to work with us and to be here. I thank God. He shows me how to best invest in them.”

Through Tuscan Sun, Cynthia helps customers realize their dreams and build new homes for their families. She’s working to scale the business from supplying materials for five houses a day to fifty, but her dreams don’t stop there. “I’m praying that I will be able to do something about plumbing and drainage in Nairobi.” She believes being able to use the bathroom safely in a clean space is a human right, especially for women.

“We need people to live with decency. I can wake up. I can eat. I can clean myself. I can go to the toilet and be human. But I always remember that somewhere in the world, as I fancy what I want to buy, someone fancies going to the toilet.”

She believes God is guiding her to take action on behalf of those who don’t yet have this basic need met.

As Cynthia looks to Christ to guide her, she also sees His love and provision. “I have my shortcomings, but God loves me for who I am. He tells me ‘Here, daughter, just step here, and step here, and step here. Believe me. Just go.’ And I go. And I want to continue going. By listening to Him, He sent me to Sinapis. And I just keep on going and following Him.” 

Sinapis equips entrepreneurs like Cynthia to make disciples and alleviate poverty through the power of entrepreneurship. As Cynthia builds her business, she is providing for her own family and the families of her employees. Because her business exists, Cynthia’s community has the supplies it needs to build homes. And because Cynthia has committed her life and business to the Lord, she seeks to serve Christ and help others know Him in all she does. Cynthia is a powerful example of an entrepreneur on a mission. 
Who reminds you of Cynthia in your community? Send them a thank you for the ways they are blessing their neighbors.