Sometimes it takes so little to make such a big difference. For Betty, it was a loan of just more than $115. That $115 translated to her working sales for someone else to working for herself. Now she is able to work the same hours with the same duties, but has been able to provide for her family, start her savings and plan for a future where her children no longer have to live in a slum. See her story, in her words, below.
Akumu Betty at her market stall on November 5th, 2016.
‘Hello my name is Akumu Betty; I am 30 year old mother of four children under the ages range between 8 and 17.
I am currently separated from my husband but he helps me with taking care of the children. My children and I live in a hut in a small in the slum [area] of Gulu town.
I have a stall in Gulu main market where I sell bananas (Matoke), ground g-nuts (peanuts) for sauce and g-nuts paste (peanut butter). I applied for a loan with Kleos Uganda because I wanted to improve on my business. In the past I used to get bananas from other market vendors who buy in bulk and I would sell for them and then get paid on commission because I could not afford to buy my own and sell to my customers.
Kleos gave me a loan of 300,000 [Ugandan Shillings] (About $115) which I used to pay for my stall here in market and used part of it to buy my own stock. I am now able to make more money to support my family and pay for my children’s school fees.
I tried to borrow loans from other financial institutions in the past but I was denied the loan because I did not have collateral [as] security to be able to borrow. I learned about Kleos from my church group and I decided to join the program.
I am illiterate and Kleos has given me training which has helped me to learn business skills and better ways of handling my loan money. Kleos Uganda’s staff frequently follows up on the progress of my business and they encourage me to work hard and do even much better. This has helped me to be able to pay back my loan in time because I have learned good business practices which helps me make more money. The training has also helped me to understand the advantages of savings and now I have joined a savings group here in the market where we put a small amount of money daily into a poll called “boli cup” (meaning “drop it there”) and members get their money back at an agreed time period.
I want [to] finish paying back the loan so that I can be able to apply for more because my aim is to work very hard and be able to give my children a decent home outside the slum area.
I thank Kleos very much for the program they are offering to the community of Gulu and I hope they don’t stop because very many people need program like this to improve the quality of their lives.’
Also published on Medium.