Growing Through COVID-19!

A woman standing with her arms crossed and one hand on her shoulder. Behind her is cassava being dried on the floor and a grassthatched house in the distance
Bako Zaitun posing in front of the dried cassava for sell

Women with disabilities share their experiences of growth through COVID-19 and the effectiveness of the seed grant on their livelihoods.

I am Ms. Zaitun Alice of Kochi sub county, Kochi parish now a widow during the covid-19 lockdown. I thank NUWODU for opening my mind. I started Kochi Women with Disabilities group in 2015 with 20 members. After that NUWODU included us women with disabilities in Yumbe as host community in their Bidibidi Refugee Settlement project in 2019, where we were trained on leadership, encouraged to be in groups, save, and register the groups at both sub county and district levels to benefit from government programs.  On return, I worked hard to register the group at both sub county and district level, started a VSLA, applied and received Special Grant and worked hard to get a tender of the market where we get UGX 200,000/= every Friday, for 2 years now.

When the Aga Khan [funded] project came, we mobilized more women with disabilities to join the group and save. The training in financial literacy has helped us a lot in planning for whatever money we get. Everybody is actively working. We want to prove that “disability is not inability”. As for me I sell fish, manage my family without any support and pay my brother’s school fees in Moyo Secondary school. As a group, we plan to buy land and construct a produce store at Kochi trading center.

Zaitun Alice narrating the formation of her group

I am Bako Zaitun with a physical disability, a single mother of 5 children from Roni village, Acholi parish, Apo sub county. After the group formation and training by NUWODU, we received the UGX 1 million seed money. It helped us a lot although it was little. Corona had affected us badly and we spent all we had on basic needs, so we lacked capital to start again. Before the seed money 2-3 people could borrow money from the group because our savings were small. When we received the seed money, 7 people borrowed at once at an interest of 5%.

Bako Zaitun posing in front of the dried cassava for sell

My businesses of cassava flour and charcoal improved with the money I borrowed from the group. I have accessed the charcoal market in Arua where I can sell a bag for UGX 40,000/= unlike in Yumbe town where it costs UGX 20,000/=. I can now plan and budget for my family. I no longer rely on relatives. My plan is to have a charcoal store where people will load from, my son to return to school next year and educate all my children. 

Onesta emphasizing the number of sacks of groundnuts the group started with.

I am Ojobiru Onesta of Omogo village Lodonga town council with a physical disability. I am a mother of 5 and the second of three wives. I got disability after a motor accident in 2018. I was shy, ashamed of my disability, lacked confidence, could wait for everything from my husband and when he chose not to show up, I had nothing to do. When I was approached to join the group, I met other women with disabilities and was encouraged.

Later, I was elected as the Chairperson of the group, a position I never held in my life. The 3 days training by NUWODU in Yumbe town, built my confidence and I discovered I was not alone. The knowledge on how to save and use money encouraged me to start saving weekly.

When the seed money came, though late, we bought 6 sacks of ground nuts at UGX 630,000/= to sell during planting season and shared the balance. We save UGX 500/= with the VSLA twice in a week and use some of these savings to support the neediest women with disabilities. The group’s savings has reached UGX 5.3 million from the time NUWODU organized us into groups. For now, I have borrowed UGX 150,000/= for gardening.

My plan is to open a personal account, buy land for rentals and educate my children. As a group we need a produce store, build rentals, and buy goats.

Bako Martha selling her cassava at the market

I am Bako Martha of Kuru trading center, Yumbe district, single with intellectual disability. Before the group, I was poor, had no means of getting money and nowhere to borrow from. When I learnt about the seed money from NUWODU, I borrowed UGX 50,000/= to start a business of selling fresh cassava in Kuru market, and sometimes in Yumbe town. I sell a heap at UGX 2000/= and the small ones at UGX 1000/=.

My business is doing very well especially during the fasting period because people prepare it for breaking the fast.  Some of my customers book cassava in advance. I do not mind what people talk about me because my target is to sell my cassava, pay the market due, and I do not interfere with them either. We do not have stalls so once you get a space, its where you sell from. I get money daily and I am happy. The time the group will start saving, I will save weekly.

My plan is to sell other items besides fresh cassava, buy land and construct a house to settle.

Aisha Jafari sharing her experience with the seed grant

I am Aisha Jafari, partially blind, from Enanga village, Orenge parish, Apo sub county and a single mother of 5 children. Before joining the group, I used to worry a lot and suffer from ulcers because I lacked money to pay fees to educate my children, yet they are intelligent. My son dropped out of school in S.3 due to lack of school fees.

When NUWODU gave us the seed money, I borrowed it, and with the knowledge and training in financial management, I planned to sell fish, so I send my son to buy fish from Obongi. My business is doing well.  I am strong because we share a lot with members during meetings and encourage one another. I am sure my son will return to school next year. I know where to turn to when faced with challenges, I am happy I have a group to turn to and I no longer suffer from ulcers.

My plan is to work hard and educate my children.

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