Thank you for getting me out of the dust and from being nobody….
With all of the turmoil in the world these days, sometimes it’s just nice to be able to share a success story - a story of someone who is grateful for her life, what small resources she’s been given, and what she’s been able turn those small resources into - someone who smiles all the time. Today I want to share such a story.
Jackline, one of our first borrowers, a designer of the loan program, and now head trainer, wrote us an email last week that began:
With much joy and honor I want to take this opportunity to extend my appreciation and gratitude to WMI and to all Donors for the tremendous work done in my life in the following areas;
- For getting me in dust from nobody and raised me to somebody by giving me a loan which has created a very big change in my day to day life.
- it has been a platform for me to meet school dues for my children
- it has helped me to construct a house where we reside and I have been able to construct a septic tank for my family which was a very big challenge before
- WMI appointed me as one of the staff members where I get a stipend to earn a living,
- WMI has given me computer skills without charge - this is also a great chance given
- I have been able to travel to different parts of the country and outside Uganda.
Without WMI (Women’s Microfinance Initiative) I wouldn't have gone this far. I remain thankful and grateful for the treasure WMI has given me. LONG LIVE WMI. Jackline
We met Jackline almost eight years ago. She was a young mother in her late 20s with five children to support. Her home in Buyobo, Uganda lacked electricity, running water, and basic sanitation. It had a thatch roof, mud floor and the walls were plastered with cow dung. Despite these living standards, Jackline was better off than many - she was trained as a teacher and spoke English (her native language Lugiso is not written, so most education is in English). This skill brought her to us and she helped launch the loan program with 19 other determined women.
Philanthropists are always looking for hard evidence that their efforts are productive. Academics are always coming up with new theories. Today they focus on “metrics” as the measure of productivity. How many people were helped? How many shots were given, mosquito nets delivered? While these measures are important, they can also be manipulated and they are often difficult to verify. And, do they really measure lasting impact? This is something we at WMI look at all the time. We have realized that our village-level focus, being embedded in a small geographical area, has afforded us something very important: the opportunity to witness change over time. Not only do we see visible evidence of the change, the women also share ongoing narratives of how life has improved since the loan program launched.
Each of our 14 village programs has a small loan fund and costs less than $70,000 to set up. The programs are directed and run by local women and are designed to run self-sufficiently from the interest income generated by the revolving loan fund. This small amount of money has spawned change that is permanent. Visit Buyobo and you will see the new businesses – originally run from a mat on the ground, they are now housed in brick structures. You will see the children thriving and learning – and now going off to college through the profits from their mother’s businesses. You will see improved housing – concrete floors when a dirt floor once sufficed; tin roofs replacing thatch. You will see families working together on their businesses – and a significant drop in domestic violence. To see the change, all you have to do is look.
On behalf of the thousands of rural women and their families who have benefited from WMI, we wish to extend our sincere and heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to all of you for your generous support towards improving their social and economic conditions. Your invaluable contributions have transformed the lives of a rural woman in profound and permanent ways. Without your support, all of this would not be possible. Thank you so very much.