Greetings to you all,
This week has been a good week for three of our Mama Nguvu candidates who have managed to secure a boost to their businesses. Last week I submitted their proposals and working budgets as required for our work this season. I was able to meet them to work through their respective budgets and now we are finishing on the contracts so we can sign, then do shopping for their respective business items. These include Irene L, Lorna K and Annet C who will all complete the shopping process tomorrow.
The other Mamas I worked with this week included the following;
Hamida. H., whose business has been on hold for a while now, was not able to replace her lost chickens and has been struggling to raise capital to restart her chicken business. The challenge is that she has no chicken coop at the moment and she does not have the money to prepare room for what would have been the alternative.
She is currently working as a sales representative in a friend’s furniture shop for now as a means of trying to raise capital or funds to re-establish her business. While talking to her, I still saw the enthusiasm she has always had when she had her business. She still wants to raise chicken because this is her passion. I asked her to continue dreaming and wanting her business as we work towards establishing her business again.
Hadija N is doing okay. I met her just before she started her business day. She was sitting with her daughter preparing to start work for the afternoon. She usually starts with making the fire using charcoal in a charcoal stove, as her little sister helps with peeling the potatoes and putting the tea in the kettle. She sells chips, fried eggs and tea by the roadside. She does not have a permanent structure because the authorities won’t let them build anything by the road. Therefore she only places her display table then places a bench and table besides the display case where her customers sit as they enjoy the tea. She, along with her sister, will deliver the food to the rest of the customers.
She later spoke to me about her bar business, saying “I have my fridge, chairs and tables and I still want to do my bar business again.” The challenge for her has been the fact that bars had been closed by the government but she is determined to re-open whenever they are given the green light. I am glad she is still passionate for this section of her business and I can’t wait to work with her along those lines.
Irene L’s salon has been finished or at least plastered with cement and she has nailed pieces of wood to the wall that she will use to hang hair braids and weaves. This is a common display technique for most local salons here. This salon is a bit small, smaller than what she had before but she is happy with it. I spoke to her early this week and she was working on getting her new market licence that allows her to work in that domain.
She has also been lucky to access some more ISEE funding to help her buy some small requirements she will need to help her start effectively. Having spoken to her earlier, I realized that she has no capital because she has been using the money she had saved previously to buy food and sustain her family when the salon was closed. We believe that by availing this money to her will help her start more easily than if we didn’t provide these funds.
The only sad story this week came from visiting Margaret who had just returned from two funeral arrangements of her mother and brother who both passed on in January. A death in the family is never easy, of course, but Margaret had a particularly hard time with everything. If you wanted to know just how messy these funeral arrangements can be, you should experience a Ugandan one. She has had to deal with a lot of things and she was exhausted. I had to try and cut my meeting short with her because I didn’t want to bring back the memories, so I tried to change the topic to business.
She is clearly not ready to engage yet again in her tailoring work so we agreed that she should take time off for a month or so until she can determine her next move. We are hoping that she gets well soon and because of social distancing I was not able to give her a hug but rather wished her positive thoughts during these trying times.
In my attempts to visit Mamas this week, I was unable to see Angel N as she had traveled to the Village to see her mother, Florence A after taking her children to the village early last month has also traveled to pick them up because schools are soon reopening.
Our Mama Boosts of the Week
As it is with our policy all Mama have a year to repay a portion of this boost based on her earnings. This is done in the spirit of one Mama helping another as we try to create a lasting impact in their lives as families.
Lastly thank you all for your continued support to us and the Mamas we serve daily. We wish you well in the coming week ahead. Stay safe, maintain social distancing but remain sociable.
Director for Progs, Uganda
ISEE Solutions Society