It has been a busy and very productive first month of 2014. I am thrilled to announce that ISEE has implemented its first Mama Nguvu – Empowering the Mother project! Mama Nguvu was born from lengthy discussions with other local NGOs and our board about the best model to sponsor students.
Esther and Peace from Children of Hope Uganda in Lira explained their process of sponsoring the guardian of the family, most often the mother, instead of a specific child. Through their sponsorship program, the guardians now make enough money to send all the children to school as well as take care of their medical and nutritional needs. Peace explained that when an organization sponsors one child, how does that benefit the family? Maybe the one child is not the strongest at school and won’t benefit the most. Maybe that child will finish Senior 6 and then leave so that the investment doesn’t return to the family and community. By investing in the guardian, all the children go to school and share the benefits. “No mother will leave one child out for the exclusive benefit of another.” Esther explained.
Made sense to us. So we decide to try. For the past two years, we have been sponsoring a boy in secondary school but his grades were abysmal and despite investing in tutoring, the grades were just getting worse. We had to try something else. When we met the mother to discuss the school fees, she slipped a piece of paper to me that I put in my bag and took home to read. It was a request to invest in her farm so that she could start a small business. It was the perfect solution to our quandary.
Prossy has 5 children. Two are adults and have moved away (although one has sent her 12 year old daughter to live with Prossy), and three go to high school. One daughter already has a four year old son that Prossy supports as well. She supports two children in primary school and three in secondary.
Prossy’s husband works in Western Uganda tending cattle that belongs to another family member. The plot of land that she farms belongs to her brother. Her husband used to work for one of the major Ugandan banks but when the government sold it, he lost his job in the reshuffling and hasn’t been able to find anything since. It has been 6 years.
Prossy expressed some hesitation about really taking the plunge from subsistence farming to actually farming as a business. She already had six chickens and six pigs to help her purchase food for her family but the added livestock will mean more care required as well as a chance to make and save money.
When the piglets and chickens arrived, she was excited. And so were we! We really hope that this small investment will help this amazing lady support her family and make sure all her children complete their schooling.
“I want my children to go to university.” she told us. ISEE hopes that this project will help make that dream a reality.