Meet Betty, A Gomez, Anyone?
Betty is an industrious, hard-working woman. She has several children that she struggles to raise on her own. Her home is neat, clean and well kept. She wants more than anything to educate her children. Betty heard about the Women’s Bank of Kabingo and applied for her first microloan. She received the loan because of her good standing in the community. With a loan for $80 or 250,000 Ugandan schillings, Betty had her treadle-foot sewing machine repaired (there is no electricity in Kabingo) and bought fabric so she could start a sewing business! She paid back her loan in full as she was making and selling gomezes (the traditional Ugandan dress for women in the village). With this also came the request to repair other clothes, make blouses and pants. Her business started.
Betty spoke to us of the problem of villagers having little money, requiring them to pay slowly over time for their garments. This created a cash flow problem. Without their payment she could not buy new fabric to make gomezes. Betty realized quickly that she would need a second loan just to purchase a supply of fabric so she could keep sewing. This she did and she continues to make new clothing.
Betty’s reputation for hard work is known throughout the village so when a new bunch of piglets was born in the Piglet Co-op, she was given three to begin her piggery. She is raising the pigs and can afford to feed them with the money from her sewing business. One pig died but two survived. She had her pig inseminated and it had 9 piglets! Three she passed on to another woman in the village as her payback, she sold three and she remains with three. A second business has been started!
Betty is now able to pay school fees for her children. She is proud of her hard work and independence. She is full of hope and gratitude. It is truly amazing how just $80 can change a woman’s life and a family’s trajectory!