Huys Link Community Initiative - In Harmony, we Reach out to the World!
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“After my husband lost his job as a fisherman, we suffered as a family. We used to plead with the school not to chase our three children away when we were behind on fees. We were struggling – and that’s when you came in.”
Florence, 34, Uganda
Florence stands smiling at her children who are busying themselves with the family’s livestock: nine goats, two pigs, 45 rabbits and seven ducks. “I have given each of them responsibility of caring for one goat each,” she tells us, laughing. “In a way, they have learned a lot of skills because I guide them.”
Florence is a successful farmer, both with livestock rearing and crop growing, who lives in the Bulega Village in the Wakiso District of Uganda. Happily married to her husband and mother of three children, things weren’t always so perfect for her and her family.
“My husband was a fisherman but after he lost his job, we all suffered. It was hard to pay for my children’s school fees; I would plead with the school not to chase our children away. I was barely growing enough crops to support all of us.”
It was at that moment Florence knew that she needed to make a change for her family.
HUYSLINCI, with the support of many generous Canadians, offered Florence training in caring for domestic animals and maintaining a vegetable garden. She learned that animals need space that is well planned and maintained as well as how to properly feed them, and to identify disease and illness and how to treat them.
HUYSLINCI also taught her the importance of saving and borrowing, and to not sell animals if an urgent need arises in the household.
“These days I spend most of the time looking after my animals. I also grow bountiful vegetables for us to eat and sell and I am so happy that you helped give me those skills. I am proud of the way my little farm is expanding.”
FLORENCE AND HER CHILDREN WHO HAVE ALSO TAKEN AN INTEREST IN ANIMAL CARE AFTER SHE STARTED LIVESTOCK REARING.
Florence is also incredibly proud that she can provide food for her children and afford their school fees. “Look at my children,” she says, placing her hand on the back of her daughter’s head, “they look good….but do you know why?… it’s because of you.”
The love and care for her livestock doesn’t end with Florence. Her 11-year-old son Mulema became particularly interested in animals and livestock after Florence received the goat. “He wants to become a veterinarian because of my livestock. He wants to treat animals so they do not become sick or die,” Florence told us.
GIVING BAAACK TO THE COMMUNITY
Knowing how it feels to encounter financials struggles, Florence was determined to make sure no other family she knew felt the same way.
Florence earns enough income for her family thanks to generous donors who provided her with a goat and training
“I know many families that need help. I think that if I was ‘just’ given a goat, the same spirit has to continue by giving some of my goats to another needy family,” she told us. “It feels good and makes me feel that if we can help one another to improve our livelihoods, we should. I have also given out green vegetables to my friends and neighbours, and taught them how to grow crops.”
For the future, Florence hopes her children attend post-secondary education and pursue their dream careers. Right now, Florence is grateful for the opportunities she received to start her small ruminants farm.
“I want to thank HUYSLINCI and generous donors in Canada for the work done in supporting our children, empowering the youth and organizing educative seminars. People in my community are happy about you. I hope that you continue in the same spirit and with the same great work.”
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“Opening up this shop was something I had long dreamed of. This is my passion.” Gertrude, 38, Uganda
Gertrude always had dreams of owning her own business but never thought it was possible. She largely depended on her husband’s income to support her family living in Uganda. Her six children fell in and out of school, often dropping out for long periods of time because they couldn’t afford their school fees.
Determined to keep her children in school, Gertrude received small business training through from HUYSLINCI, supported by Canadian Feed The Children. She also learned how to grow fruit and vegetables through small-scale gardening. She would feed her children with the produce from the garden and sell off the rest to her neighbours.
“The money I earned from my small gardening helped me buy my children uniforms, books, and other school supplies. I regret all the time it took me to start earning my own money,” Gertrude said with a laugh.
It wasn’t perfect but having both incomes helped the family get by. That is, until Gertrude’s whole world came crashing down around her.
A GROWING OPPORTUNITY
Sadly, a few short years later her husband passed away suddenly. Without his support, Gertrude knew that a small garden couldn’t support her children alone. She decided that she needed to take charge of her future and expand her garden into a fully fledged business.
After receiving a grant from HUYSLINCI, she rented a kiosk in her local market, paying for three months rent upfront as well as buying produce and gardening inputs. Gertrude believes that a grocery shop is the perfect business for her – she can sell her produce for money as well as eat and cook with the leftover vegetables.
“Opening up this shop was something I had long dreamed of. This is my passion,” Gertrude told us, proudly.
Gertrude purchased wholesale produce like cassava, green bananas, tomatoes, carrots and onions to sell in the local market from her kiosk. Her stall is so popular that there are times when customers will come to her house after hours asking to buy her vegetables.
Once Gertrude’s business started to thrive, she asked three of her neighbours to grow their own vegetables and sell them at her kiosk for a reasonable price. Now their families benefit from the extra income too.
Gertrude’s tenacity during hard times has paid off, giving back all she can to ensure her family stays healthy and happy. Her children are all enrolled in school, eating healthy and nutritious meals and haven’t been sick in months.
Because of you, Gertrude has produce and a kiosk to sell vegetables and fruit in her local market
“Since the business, we find it easier to get what we need. My family enjoys it! If you’re looking for people who enjoy what they do,” Gertrude told us, pointing to her chest and laughing, “it’s me!”
In the future, Gertrude dreams of buying the kiosk she rents to take complete ownership of her business, as well as expanding the acreage of her garden. She would even love to open a restaurant with friends and completely supply all the produce.
But more than that, Gertrude dreams of maintaining her steady business to keep her children in school and look after them “in a way that would make their late father proud.”