Empowering the single mothers of Uganda
17 Aug 2016 | Blog | Long-term Development | Uganda
The challenges of being a single parent in a marginalised community are well known to two women in the Kyankwanzi district of Uganda.
Nabisubi Margret was married to her husband for 9 years before he passed away, leaving her to care for 5 children.
The 46-year-old, who lives in a village in the Kyankwanzi district, not only had to deal with the grief and emotional pain of losing her husband, but the reality of providing for her children on her own.
Nabisubi began subsistence farming work to help feed her children, but the family could barely afford two meals a day.
It was a Sunday at church that Nabisubi’s life changed. The work of Caritas Australia’s partner organisation Caritas Kiyinda Mityana Diocese and the Integrated Food Security Program came to her attention.
“I have lived in this village for more than 10 years but have never seen or heard about any NGO working in our area, even though many of us always yearned for such an opportunity,” Nabisubi says.
“When I heard this good news, I decided to become a participant.”
Nabisubi began participating in many meetings, activities and training sessions as part of the program.
As a result, she has gained further knowledge and awareness in the areas of child protection, food security and sanitation. Nabisubi has also gained greater understanding of how to manage her financial situation, through the Kikajjo Caritas Saving and Credit Association Group, which is part of the wider Integrated Food Security Program.
Through her newfound skills and knowledge, Nabisubi has put together an energy efficient stove that allows her to save up to three times the amount of wood she was using before, as well as enabling her to cook multiple things at once. She has also added a vegetable garden to her yard, adding to the family’s nutrition and better sanitation facilities such as dry racks and a tippy tap.
Nabisubi has also turned into quite the entrepreneur, with planted cassava cuttings she is aiming to sell and pancakes she has already been selling to a nearby trading centre. She has also looked to the Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) for financial assistance, borrowing money to pay for her children’s school fees and invest in shares. It’s the confidence Nabisubi has gained from being a part of the Kikajjo Caritas Saving and Credit Association Group that has led to these financial decisions.
Nagayi Elizabeth is another single mother from the same village and district who has benefitted from the help of Caritas Australia, Caritas Kiyinda Mityana Diocese and the Integrated Food Security Program.
Nagayi and her husband split after 10 years together, leaving her to care for their 4 children. In between leaving the home they had together and starting her life over in her childhood village, Nagayi also had 2 more children.
“Truth is, I really had no idea where to begin from and I was afraid,” Nagayi explains.
‘This was very challenging for me but I knew I had to do it [leave the home she shared with her husband] just for my children because they were my point of encouragement.”
Nagayi was paid a visit by a Caritas Kiyinda Mityana Diocese staff member who explained the work of Caritas to her. Nagayi was selected to be a participant of the program and took part in a number of training sessions, meetings and activities, similar to Nabisubi’s experience.
Through what she has learnt in the program, in particular in the Kikajjo Caritas Saving and Credit Association Group, Nagayi has been able to save 6000 UGS (Uganda shillings) each month. Nagayi is also looking at applying for a small loan through the VSLA and her short-term aim is to rent more land in order to grow more food to sell. Nagayi already owns a small piece of land, which she hopes to add to in the long-term future.
Of the program’s impact on her life, Nagayi says,” The inputs that I received, the trainings that I attended have really enhanced my dignity and that [of] my children and now I have hope again.”
“To the good generous people who contribute a penny to see to it that these programs still exist, my prayers are assured. There is great hope in all you do for us, please do not give up.”
Learn more about the Integrated Food Security Program
Watch our 'How to' videos on some of the items Nabisubi and Nagayi learnt to make in their program
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