School proprietor and client Rosemary Namande
“Love for children is deep in my heart,” says Rosemary Namande of Uganda, affectionately known as Mama Rosemary. “God has blessed me with the ability to care for hundreds of them.”
Forty years ago, she opened a school for infants in makeshift quarters. Today, thanks to tireless determination and Opportunity International loans you made possible, five permanent buildings house her elementary school and orphanage. Here, Rosemary educates and cares for 900 children—many with discounted or free tuition.
Through an innovative approach to financing new infrastructure, Rosemary’s loans have grown from $204 to over $7,000. She uses part of the loans to purchase fabric and sew uniforms, which she sells to augment tuition income. Her continued expansion allows her to employ 53 people and greatly enhances economic activity in her community.
Like many sub-Saharan Africans, Rosemary Namande has been deeply affected by the AIDS epidemic. Fifteen of her current students were born with AIDS and receive treatment at her school. For 55 other children without a home, her orphanage provides a safe haven.
As AIDS continues to devastate families, thousands of our clients are doing what Rosemary does—using the gains they make with Opportunity loans to benefit others. It is not unusual for them to adopt orphans, hire widows or teach their neighbors a marketable skill like sewing or baking. Rosemary goes even further: she helps other women establish businesses, she chairs the local women’s council and she opens up her school to the community for meetings and celebrations.
Rosemary is driven by the belief that education leads to a better life for this and the next generation. In her school and throughout the community, she imparts the academic lessons and life skills her students and peers will need to confront the challenges of poverty and emerge as tomorrow’s leaders.