Back in Uganda with three TGC board members and two young supporters, we’re here to visit some of the loan programs we launched in February and to distribute loans to an additional 87 new borrowers. As we travel the simply wretched roads and navigate crazy difficulties for getting the simplest of tasks accomplished, I continue to be impressed with the tenacity of Ugandans.
Today, we attended the final repayment day in the village of Lwaboba. We asked each borrower to describe their experience with our loan program. We were especially delighted to hear many stories of women who, as a result of the micro loan, were able to send more of their children to school, provide them with books, shoes, required uniforms. Educating their children is always a priority with these dedicated mothers. Repeatedly they described their delight at being able to provide basic needs for their families, including the simple act of being able to buy soap! We heard numerous accounts of women buying farm animals, goats and pigs, a common way to preserve and multiple equity. Another was able to buy bricks for the foundation of a future, permanent home; helping her ailing Father was a joy for one woman.
But even more impressive were the stories of those who, through no fault of their own, faced significant hardships during the loan period. One woman had to relocate her fledgling business when the government widened the road where her kiosk was located and eliminated it’s foundation. Another’s poultry business was wiped out by a virus. In each case, the borrower picked herself back up and found ways to continue and thrive. It was very touching to hear one woman report “I am better than I was because of this program.”
I was especially complimented when Annette, our Loan Administrator, told us that she has seen many micro loan programs that provide money but that don’t really help the women out of poverty.” She said, “You have shown us the way.” From the beginning of our program, I’ve wanted to be sure that we give our borrowers every possible tool to succeed. Having spent my early career in education, I know that knowledge is power and these women have used all the education we’ve given them.
Look for guest blogs to hear other’s impressions of this trip and the work you’re supporting!