Meet Jane and Annette, co-wives who are now widowed. These women, who are good friends, have been part of a SowHope-sponsored microfinance group in Uganda since 2009. And despite being widowed, they are very successful.
In the photo, the women are standing in front of Jane’s beautiful new brick house. With the microloans Jane has taken from the group, she has been able to successfully grow crops and save money to build a better life for her family. She said that before joining the group, she did not know how to budget her earnings. Now she can budget the $90 profit she earns over 3 months toward things like her children’s school fees. Two of her children are currently in primary school, and her son recently became the first person from their village to graduate from university!
Annette has used her microloans to invest in cows, pigs, and crops including mangoes, bananas, pineapples, and various grains. Like Jane, she has witnessed improvement within her family because she is able to pay school fees for her children. She can also hire a field worker. Annette opened a business nearby to sell her bananas and pineapples for daily income. Because she is able to pay a worker, Annette also has time to teach a SowHope-funded literacy class. She says the literacy program is challenging due to language differences when Rwandan immigrants attend. Also, some women cannot regularly attend class because their husbands are threatened by the prospect of them becoming literate. Despite these obstacles, Annette’s dream is constant. She inspires other women by teaching them to read and write. With literacy, the women of the village are able to run successful microfinance projects, express their thoughts and feelings, check their children’s homework, and read legal documents. When asked how teaching literacy makes her feel, Annette said, “It’s like farming – when you grow crops and harvest, you feel good!”