For both women we are sitting with, there is no better day than International Women's Day to share their stories of hope and inspiration!
Nurture Africa implements a unique" holistic family centred model" where each guardian (who represents a family/household) receives a combination of the following: -
1) Training and resources to develop a Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA) which in turn supports them to generate an income.
2) Training and resources to start a backyard vegetable garden to ensure the family can provide its on food.
3) Training in the Rights of the Child and child protection and training on how to make a will.
Providing multiple interventions for individual households improves the livelihoods and self-reliance of a family.
Nurture Africa's VSLA model empowers vulnerable families to gain income generating opportunities. A VSLA is a group of up to thirty women who meet regularly, save what they can, and provide low interest loans to each other in order to support each member to establish or expand their own business.
They generate an income, provide for their families needs and continue to save.
Nurture Africa staff provide financial management and business training for VSLA members and provide ongoing support for 12 months.
Since the beginning of 2021, Nurture Africa has supported 1,603 women to join a VSLA and establish a business.
Years ago Justine Nakkazi (pictured above) was widowed and life took a different turn for her.
“When I lost my husband, I had no strong source of livelihood that would cater for my children and I. Life was not easy. I used to get a daily facilitation of about 3,000 shillings (75 cent) from shop keeping at my
sister's retail shop."
However, this was too meagre to sustain the daily needs of her family.
"I resorted to begging from relatives. Eventually they got tired and started to ignore my requests for help. I was hopeless. Then, I heard about Nurture Africa and I was offered the opportunity to join a VSLA. My hope to live a better life was restored when I joined Basiima VSLA group. I was inspired by the positive experiences I had heard from some members,” Justine said.
After regular savings of 1,000 shillings (25 cent) with the group in 2019, Justine was able to request a loan.
"I opened a snack selling business. I continued to make weekly savings of 1,000 shillings (25 cents) and later in that same year I was able to borrow 250,000 shillings (€60) which I used to open a retail shop, selling household items, foodstuffs and snacks amongst other items. I am now at a point where I can provide for the basic needs of my family."
35 year old Mimuna Namirembe, a single mother of four children has had her fair share of struggles and shared a similar story. Due to her husband leaving and not taking care of her children the burden of looking after them fell on Mimuna and she could not cope.
"I became destitute and myself and my children survived on occasional handouts from people. We often went without food on other days. I was frustrated until I was introduced to the concept of a Village Savings and Loans Association by a project staff member of Nurture Africa in 2019. I initially hesitated to join one
but after realising the changed lives my friends were living, I decided to join the Kyoga Village Savings and Loans Association in Wakiso Town council in September, 2019."
"I started doing occasional odd jobs like washing clothes and fetching water for a fee to earn and save the little I could with the VSLA. Life started to change when I got my very first loan from the VSLA. With 50,000 shillings (€12.50), I was able to set up a general merchandise stall at the roadside,” she said.
With continued saving, borrowing and an increase in customers, Mimuna still runs her stall, expanding to sell fruit and vegetables too.
"My businesses capital has now increased to 500,000 shillings (€125) thanks to my efforts and the support of the VSLA group. Now life has given me and my children the green light!"
“All my children are now in school and I pay their fees on time. I have also bought a 20ft by 50ft plot of land at a cost of 3 million shillings (€750) from the VSLA share-outs. I buy clothes for my children and we have
nutritious meals twice a day,” Mimuma shared, unable to conceal her smile.
“I really thank Nurture Africa for introducing this project to us. If it had not been for the magic of joining a VSLA, by now I fear to know what would have become of me and my children”.
If you would like to donate to towards Nurture Africa's work of empowering women in Uganda, please click the following link: https://mysplink.com/nurtureafrica
Nurture Africa wishes to thank Justine Nakkazi and Mimuna Namirembe for sharing their personal stories.