Evans with his wife, Roy, and daughter, Luyiga.
2014 was year of collaboration and growth for Opportunity Uganda, which closed the year with active loans to 28,982 entrepreneurs. But loans are only one of the tools Opportunity continues to use to empower people living in extreme poverty.
Opportunity Uganda disbursed $2.8 million in loans to farmers who raise livestock and grow bananas, coffee, cotton, maize and sugarcane. They also collaborated with the Uganda Coffee Farmer Alliance to reach 2,500 coffee farmers and with Joseph Initiative to empower 1,000 maize farmers. A partnership with John Deere also changed the lives of several farmers who have dreamed of owning their own tractors. Opportunity Uganda financed five farmers and another 17 are eagerly awaiting approval for their tractors.
Opportunity Uganda also customized school fee loans for farmer families who earn seasonal income and struggle to keep their children in school between harvests, resulting in a 22% growth in lending over the prior year. Schools themselves were also supported through School Improvement loans which were given to 41 institutions to improve sanitation and build new classrooms. 35,250 students were positively impacted by these school improvements, and the loans helped provide numerous communities with quality educational facilities.
Ridgeway School is one of many schools that has grown as a result of school improvement loans from Opportunity. Evans founded Ridgeway Primary School in 2007 with just 100 students, holding lessons in a dilapidated wooden structure on a rented plot of land. Determined to provide a better environment for his students and his three daughters, Evans obtained a series of Opportunity International loans. As a result of his hard work and passion for education, Evans has built a boarding facility, purchased land and constructed a primary school building serving 915 students. Evans’ dream to educate Ugandan students is evident through his efforts to improve the school which has attracted highly qualified teachers and local families. His goal is to expand the school to 5,000 students and provide students with life skills and computer literacy training before they advance to secondary school.
By supporting the dreams of clients like Evans, Opportunity can empower entrepreneurs to raise themselves, their families and their communities out of poverty.