Johnson Ngunja: Kenyan Man Who Started as a Mjengo in Nairobi Now Owns Multi-Million Properties in Finland After Earning a Scholarship

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Growing up in Kenya, Johnson Ngunja’s life was marked by a series of menial jobs and financial struggles, yet he never wavered in his determination to improve his circumstances.

After completing secondary school, Ngunja began his working life at a beauty salon and laundry in Nairobi, but the business soon faltered, leaving him jobless.

He then moved on to a barbershop in Pangani and later a liquor store in Nairobi West. Despite the challenges, including dealing with an alcoholic boss and even spending nights in Langata police cells, Ngunja pressed on.

When times got tough, Ngunja returned to his rural home but kept going back to Nairobi for contractual construction jobs, commonly known as “mjengo.”

He stayed with friends and later rented a modest house in Githurai Kimbo for Ksh900 per month, subsisting on a bare minimum. Even during lean periods without work, he never lost hope.

Living with his sister for a period, Ngunja tried his hand at selling insurance policies, a job that paid on commission and often left him struggling.

Yet, he preferred this hustle to burdening his sister, and he soon returned to construction work while expanding his network.

A turning point came when Ngunja saved enough money to open his own barbershop in Githurai 45.

This small venture was the seed that would eventually lead him to bigger opportunities.

Through a former colleague, Ngunja learned about a scholarship opportunity in Finland. With his brother’s help, he applied and was accepted to study Tourism, despite the initial hurdle of not having a passport or airfare.

A community fundraiser and his savings enabled Ngunja to travel to Finland, where he faced a new set of challenges.

His hustler spirit saw him collecting and selling recyclable cans and bottles, a lucrative venture in Finland. He recruited friends to join him, maximizing their earnings.

In addition to his bottle-collecting enterprise, Ngunja worked cleaning jobs and later at a garage, which motivated him to get a driver’s license. He quickly advanced to driving trucks and buses, all the while developing a keen interest in cars.

This interest led him to enroll in an automotive course, which he completed in a record eight months, securing an internship at Škoda Dealership, a company under the Volkswagen Group.

By 2021, Ngunja had not only graduated but also signed a job contract with Škoda, marking the beginning of a new chapter in his life.

His success in Finland allowed him to invest in multiple properties, transforming his financial status from struggling mjengo worker to prosperous entrepreneur.

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