Making my 12th trip to WMI loan program hubs in East Africa, I am delighted to report that the impact of the loan program continues to grow. We first traveled due west 4 hours from Kampala to the Mubende area where we partner with the Buesessa Community Development Association to off loans and training. The ladies were enthusiastic in their welcome and so happy I had made the trip that they presented me with many lovely locally-made baskets. They readily escorted us to tour businesses that lined the main roadside. Business owners reported earning $100 – $500/month from hair braiding salons, dress design and tailoring, shops and sales of maize and beans.
Many women in the area were refugees from the Rwanda genocide. As children and young adults, they fled violence and chaos. In western Uganda they found stability and a chance for a new life. They were not resettled by an international agency; they did not receive government subsidies or support. They persevered by virtue of their own hard work and determination. WMI is proud to be able to offer resources that help their businesses expand and thrive.
The welcome at our WMI HQ in Buyobo was overwhelming. Women’s businesses now dominate the main road through town. Catering, small restaurants and snack stalls have become common – prepared food is big business in Buyobo. Household improvements are visible everywhere, from brick houses, to satellite dishes to cows grazing in yards. And, women now dress very smartly!
Our annual celebration for the community was the largest ever, drawing more that 700 women and their families, as well as community leaders and guest speakers. A day of singing, dancing, marching, musical performances, and speeches ended with a feast catered by our own staff. What a wonderful way to acknowledge the ongoing accomplishments of the women in the loan program in eastern Uganda, which has now spread throughout Sironko and into Bulambuli, Manafwa and Bududa Districts.