“My name is Berita Agwang, I am 36 years old. I come from Akadot village, in Kumi District, Eastern Uganda. I am married to Sam Ojolong and God has so far blessed us with 7 children (3 boys and 4 girls) and all are in school.
I am a pioneer member of Aipany Akadot Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA), having joined the group when it first started in June 2018. Before joining, I was a member of a different group which collapsed because of poor leadership but here, our leaders are well equipped and ensure that no one borrows more than three times their cumulative savings. This new group is very good because the members adhere to VSLA principles and we are very organised.
This VSLA programme came to our community just like the biblical manna from heaven.
We were taken through the VSLA methodology by Fields of Life and they trained us on basic business management skills and how to manage income from a business. We learnt how to identify a viable business, how to start it and how to finance it.
This training opened my eyes. I gained courage and borrowed UGX 50,000 (approx. £11) which I used to start buying and selling dry fish at our local market. I repaid the loan on time and so, I was able to borrow a further UGX 20,000 (approx. £5) which I used to boost the business. My business is now worth UGX 100,000 (approx. £22 pounds) in working capital and this is all mine because I paid back all the group loans.
With the profits from the business, I am now able to buy scholastic materials for my children and pay school fees on time. This has improved the welfare of my family and health of my children as I am also able to feed them on a balanced diet. I have also been able to save more money than ever before.
My husband is very supportive and proud of me because of how I have managed the money I got from the group. He goes around the village telling everyone he is a lucky man with a hard working wife who owns a business that is taking care of the family. This has improved my self-esteem among other women. Most of them refer to me as their role model.
Now that my business is growing, I plan to save even more money next cycle and buy a bull and continue supporting my children’s education. I am optimistic that life will never be the same again because of this programme. I pray to God to protect our group and the leaders of it because it has really improved my family welfare.
A big thank you to Fields of Life for bringing the VSLA programme to our community. I hope that more groups can be formed in the community.