ISEE Solutions

Investing in Sustainability, Education and Empowerment Solutions

ISEE Solutions - Investing in Sustainability, Education and Empowerment Solutions

November 13 update

Greetings to you all dear friends and partners of ISEE Solutions Society,

I hope this edition finds you well. I hope it has not been a long week for you. Life can be so interesting that it will make the day and week look longer depending on the curve balls it throws at you. I am only hoping that whatever you went through this week, surely you managed to handle it in one way or another. Throughout these last 7 months of 2020, I have learned to live life positively regardless of what is happening or what will happen tomorrow. I have learned that most of the time, the things that happen to us, we have little or no control over them. The challenge is that as a human race this is one of the hardest things to actually accept about life, so we end up being stressed in life because we are unable to identify what we can control or can’t. If we all had the ability to understand this particular lesson, maybe the world would have fewer depressed people. I have found that it is okay not to be okay because life is a lot more complicated than breathing in and out.

The pandemic situation is still growing day by day, as people continue to ignore the scientist’s directives for safety and operation. The case numbers here in Uganda keep growing every day as we edge closer to the elections as masses continue to gather in the attempt to listen to their political candidates. This week most of our presidential candidates launched their respective manifestos in the various districts of Uganda. These have attracted numerous groups of people, which obviously attracts and creates a risk of exposure to the many people who are moving to these destinations to listen. The current statistics show that Uganda is just shy of 15,000 infections,  with 7,393 recoveries and 139 deaths so far. One of the statistics this week includes a very prominent entrepreneur and businessman who owned one of the biggest public buses called TesoCoach that transports people to the Eastern part of the Country.

This week we also continued to serve our Ugandan population in our usual small ways but significant ways. I managed to reach out to Jane’s grandson who needed physiotherapy, Asia B, Dorah A, Florence A, Rashida S, Aida K, Provence N and Pulakiseda.

Dorah’s restaurant

As a personal motivation, I like to start on the positive note because these are some of the stories that keep me going personally. I am proud to report that Dorah A. was able to start business officially on Monday and has been registering some profits from the first four days. On a daily basis, Dorah invests up to 50,000/- Uganda shillings to buy foodstuffs like meat, beans, fish, peas, rice, posho and other foods. She told me that she has been able to make profits worth 8,000, 15,000 and 12,000 Uganda Shillings in the first 3 days which is not a bad thing considering she has just started. She has also decided to hire another lady from the village to help her be more efficient because she realised that working alone might not help her as much. I personally love this move because it does not only improve her work but rather also creates another employment opportunity to a woman out there. This is the spirit we would love to see as one mama lifts the other, maybe then we can change the world after all. {note: Andrew clarified that Dorah’s new assistant helps with cooking, cleaning, and delivering, thus increasing the reach of the business as well as the profit potential. -ed.}

The challenge I observed in this restaurant was the fact that Dorah was using smaller saucepans and small stoves. The smaller stoves take more time cooking and the little pans can only cook so much at a time. Otherwise she is also cooking two meals a day both lunch meals and supper meals which is not very common for small restaurants but could be a competitive advantage for her. {note: once Dorah is ready, we will reach out to her and see if she is interested in participating in the boost program in order to finance the purchase of larger stoves and pans, as well as sundries that she may need. -ed.}

one of the new tables at Rovence’s restaurant

Rovence N. was finally able to at least get 85% of her requested furniture from the carpenter, which was a good thing. I went to see her restaurant and surely there is a change as the bench now has synthetic leather and foam under it, the table is higher so it is easier for the customers to eat but also allows them to eat more comfortably. One of our goals has been to improve locally owned businesses to help improve the incomes of the Mamas. I was glad that she was happy with the general outcome of the deal even if she is still missing one table. We hope that the furniture she got is able to increase her business opportunities and continue to grow her business in one way or another. 

Asia at her grocery stall

I am happy to also report that for Asia B. things seem to be going well for her too as the sun has been having some good spells these past few days. She managed to pay half of her boost pay back which is usually a good sign for most Mamas when they make payment in time. Sometimes is just due diligence or just good business going on. I look forward to seeing her business continue growing weekly as we edge closer and closer to the festive season and the end of the year. This money that is contributed is what we use to help and boost other Mama’s businesses like Maria A., who we have helped this week get food for her chicks.

This week Maria A., received another batch of chicks from Christine, another Mama Nguvu candidate. After receiving the boost refund from Asia B., I was able to top it up with some little more money and I was sent this to Maria who had earlier called me on the day requesting for some support. Obviously the agreement is that she will return it in about a month so the same money can serve another Mama who might also have a similar need or perhaps then we can help Dorah get better stoves and pans. Our hope as an organization is that maybe one day, the organization will have a self sustainable project with limited support from abroad.

Jane N., has a grandson who suffers from macrocephaly and he has not been able to attend physiotherapy since lockdown in March 2020. I am happy to report that we managed to get him a private session of physiotherapy this week. Jane and Francis’s mother were so happy to receive the money to help Francis get his physio. So many families like these have been struggling to an extent that they have to give up basic needs like medication so they can eat the next meal. This is why it is always important to meet the Mamas at every point, to help them get the basics they need. These businesses are the easiest way to empower them to get medical help because for people like Francis this service is as important as the next meal. This is why I endlessly can’t stop thanking you every single week for your financial donations and support because Francis and many other kids you don’t read about each week get this attention.

Pulakiseda’s stall (not her)

Pulakiseda is doing great. She was happy to receive me yet again this week as I made my way to her grocery stall to get my usual rice, sugar, salt, cooking oil and other items that I buy from her every month. Like I have said before, for me it is important that I support these Mamas by buying their goods like food and bananas each week I visit them, maybe I should get an allowance to shop from them haha! This for me shows that we have confidence in them and that we believe in them too. Why would we give them a business, if we can’t support them by buying from them so it is important to interact with them at this level too.

Aidah’s chip stall

Aidah K., is also doing well with her chips stall. She is getting more stable by the day, with more customers coming through from the local car garages around her stall. She attributes the increase from the fact that fast food is fast and the customers are enjoying timely delivery and close proximity. I am really happy to hear from her that she is doing well after moving just over a month ago.

Rashida’s charcoal stall

Business is also growing for Rashida S., as she is now lobbying to get the space on the right next to her because she needs to find space for her ever-growing charcoal business. She told me that she had been speaking to one of the gentlemen in charge of the property on which she is operating to be able to expand the space for her charcoal business. Currently the space is shrunk and she needs to get more so she can put more bags of charcoal, to minimize the time spent buying but also open up more space for charcoal storage. I am really excited to see how Mamas are growing in these latter days after quarantine and lockdown. I spent sleepless nights thinking about what our next step would be during and after quarantine but it seems to be turning out to be good after all.

Florence and random guy

Florence A., our salonist is doing great. She is having hair and hair products being delivered almost every week or the other. Business usually becomes better for them during the end of the year and nearing the festive season. I am so glad that she is picking up the pace at the beginning and closing in into the festive season. She also takes time to prepare her snacks like popcorns and local doughnuts that she uses as a side income to boost her business. This is one of the things that I have encouraged our Mamas to have some kind of side income to help supplement their incomes.

In conclusion, I have surely had a good week due to the success attained in my follow ups but also I have learned to appreciate the struggles that I have encountered and I usually encourage our Mamas to remain positive regardless of the situation.

This is the point where I say thank you to all of you who have stayed in touch with us, to support us, to encourage us and to send us positive vibes but also follow what we do. We can’t appreciate you any better than saying thank you so much. Please continue what you are doing and let’s improve the livelihoods of the many families we are in contact with.

Yours in service

Echel Andrew

Director of Projects, Uganda

ISEE Solutions Society.

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