Cissy's snack shop
"I make the best pea samosas, fried casava, sweet potatoes, banana pancakes and chapattis in town – and now I can make more I am able to supply them to three shops as well as sell them from my home."
At the end of 2013 we started a skills and enterprise training programme for the guardians of the vulnerable children we work with.
Our initial objective was to train 80 women in tailoring and mushroom growing alongside basic book keeping, business and marketing skills.
Today 162 women (and one man!) have received training - can you believe it?!!
Out of this training four savings and credit groups have formed and we now have 135 women earning and saving for the first time in their lives.
Two of these groups were formed by guardians, they save a minimum of 2000 Ugandan shilling (0.50p) every two weeks and also put away an extra minimum of 1000 ugx (0.25p) away per child in their care.
When enough is saved to start loaning, each woman must pitch their business idea to the group and they chose collectively who will receive a loan that month.
Cissy told me how taking a loan has changed her whole families life:
"I took a loan for 200, 000 Ugandan shilling (approx. £50) to invest in my business. I was very nervous when I made my presentation to the group - I had to show how much money I would make and how I would be able to pay back the loan within reasonable time.
“Luckily lots of the women in my group knew me and had already tasted my pancakes so they knew I was a good cook and believed in me.
“Before I took the loan it was a tough daily routine. I might make 8000 shillings a day if I was lucky (approx. £2) now I generally make over 18,000 (£4.50) a day because I can buy in bulk which is cheaper but with more initial outlay.
"I look after six children - Eva, Dan, Annete, Silvia, Julius and Frank.Before I was only able to afford one meal a day for my family and sometimes we went to bed without food. But now we eat breakfast lunch and dinner. Other than just feeding, all my children now go to school.
"One is in primary school and two are now back in secondary school - it makes me feel so good now I can afford to pay their school fees.
"I make the best pea samosas, fried casava, sweet potatoes, banana pancakes and chapattis in town – and now I can make more I am able to supply them to three shops as well as sell them from my home.
“I wake up early to start cooking and as soon as people start smelling the food cooking people arrive. I pack snacks into a basket so when I move around I can sell them.
"I also make mats. I can sell one mat like this for 30,000 (£7.50) I don't sell them regularly maybe two a month unless there is a big function like a wedding when they buy many so their guests can sit on the floor. When this happens you need to be ready and make sure you have enough ready to sell all at once!
"My grandma taught me how to make these mats and I have always enjoyed it. I like trying different colours and patterns.
"My dream is to get a small plot of land and construct a home for us outside the city - somewhere without a landlord and fear of not paying rent. My dream is live out in the direction of Hoima road on route to Massindi. This is where my village is. If I lived here I could grow food and look after my family. I will get there soon, I know it.”
Help us give more women the skills they need to take start a business and regain control of their lives: http://awamu.co.uk/donate/