Her life became very hard after her husband left her for another woman in January of last year. “I was left alone to shoulder the responsibility of bringing up all the five children,” says Joyce. “He rarely supports me and the children. I became helpless and wondered how I would support my children single-handed.”
At this same time, World Renew and our local Ugandan partner, the Diocese of Northern Uganda, began implementing a self-help intervention in Patiko Sub County. The area had depended heavily on handouts and relief for over two decades of the brutal guerilla insurgency of Joseph Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army. World Renew and the Diocese agreed on the need to awaken the community's ability to look within and around for the resources needed to improve their social and economic well-being.
Joyce heard about the self-help program and was curious. “When I heard of a new project that was being introduced by Diocese of Northern Uganda in our village,” she says, “I attended the orientation meeting and decided to join the Lubanga self-help group.”
Motivated by the urgent need to support her family, Joyce started saving on a weekly basis. As a member of the group, she received training on enterprise selection and management and, with the knowledge that she acquired, Joyce decided to borrow 60,000 UGX (about $17 USD) from the group. Self-help groups allow members to offer each other microloans from their collective savings, thereby enabling those with no access to the traditional banking system to acquire start-up capital, while providing the other group members the opportunity to grow their savings through interest. With a small loan and some entrepreneurial training and support, Joyce started a business selling washing soap, onions, salt, and cooking oil from her home. Supplemented by income she earns gardening for others, Joyce’s income has gradually stabilized and she can now provide basic needs to her children like medication, clothing, and school fees.
Joyce now encourages other women to start up small income-generating activities within their own households, wanting to share the success and support that she has had.
“I am happy that my fellow women support me by buying items from my home and that they are saved walking the long journey to the trading center,” she says.
“Sometimes I carry my items for sale to our self-help meeting days and take the opportunity to sell there too! This has been a big boost to my small business. I have managed to sell my initial stock in a short period of time, to pay back my loan on time, and to reinvest the interest I’ve earned from the group.”
Joyce attributes this success and its impact on her family to the moral and social support of her group and the benefits that come from their weekly meetings. She rejoices in the knowledge she has gained through group events about entrepreneurship, conflict management, and gender-related justice issues.
Please pray for:
- Peace in South Sudan, that the displacement of the people will slow
- Recovery from traumatic situations in the refugee settlement
- Additional resources to meet the needs of the Bidibidi refugee settlement
- Aging parents, especially my mother, who is 85 years old and sickly—that we might find her a suitable house helper
We give thanks for:
- Safety as we travel
- Joy of serving with World Renew for 10 Years!!!!!
World Renew Uganda