UGANDA Saving money for her family

 Economic Development
 17th Jul 2008

Angrace lives with her four children in the north east of Uganda. With no husband she is left to provide for the whole family.

CARE helped to set up the Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA) so that people like Angrace can get access to money they would not otherwise be able to. As the groups are set up they adopt a constitution and elect leaders. They invest an agreed amount at regular meetings and these funds are lent to members for income generating activities, such as buying small farm plots or purchasing supplies and livestock.

Angrace started saving regularly with the group and last year she borrowed 30,000 shillings (less than 13€) to invest in her farming activities. With the loan, she bought seeds and paid for some help in harvesting her crops. She was able to produce a good cassava harvest and sell some of the flour which helped to pay for her children’s school fees and repay the loan with interest.

Next, she took a loan of 150,000 shillings (just under 65€) with which she was able to buy a cow and to set up a small business making pancakes as well as investing more in her crop farming. Angrace laughs and exclaims "When I held that 150,000 shillings for the first time it felt like one million. I had never held that amount of money before!"

She sells the 'mandasi' pancakes made of cassava and wheat flour in a neighbouring village market once a week and is able to make up to 40,000 shillings (about 15€) a day. Her business is doing well and with the proceeds she’s paying off the loan and she’s been able to buy two more cows and five goats. Today, she's also saving 5,000 shillings (about 2€) a week which she uses to help pay for her children’s school fees and books. She says that next she would like to buy a bicycle so that she can travel to the market more easily. A new bike costs 120,000 shillings (about 47€).

Angrace says "I'm very excited to be part of the group. At first it was difficult to understand how we would save together and borrow money but now I've seen it work and I understand it well. I hope the group will continue because it’s the only source of finance for my family. I look at the future with a good focus and I’m hopeful of a good life for my children."

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