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Empowerment Through Entrepreneurship

What can one person achieve when they are given the right support? This is a question we often find ourselves asking when we interact with the people in FXBVillages across the world. In 2009, Jamila Namakula was one of the people who showed us that the possibilities are limitless.

Jamila was born to a family of 30 in Uganda. To support her family, she dropped out of primary school and began working as a maid. At age 16, she was married. Fast-forward to 2008, and her world was completely devastated when her husband was killed in a traffic accident. Suddenly, Jamila was left to care for her six children alone.

Like Jamila, many people in Kyongera, Uganda, have trouble finding a stable source of income. Due to civil conflict, displacement and the HIV/AIDs epidemic, most economic activity is limited to raising livestock and running small retail shops.

After her husband’s death, Jamila sold fruit and vegetable peelings as livestock food.  Despite her efforts, she struggled to afford rent, medical costs and food. Most days, Jamila and her children depended on scraps and leftovers from the market to survive. But when she joined the FXBVillage program, Jamila and her family were immediately provided with food, hygiene, health supplies and medical care. Jamila also went through counseling on HIV/AIDS prevention, sanitation and hygiene.

What was one of the top factors to Jamila’s success in providing a healthy, sustainable life for her family? Certainly one of them was the help she received from FXB to start her own business..

Jamila started a small business selling cloth in the market, and her business quickly expanded. As a result, she was able to purchase additional resources such as livestock, land, storage space and even a motorcycle.

We see a lot of programs that provide education, healthcare, food and housing, and we see a lot of programs that provide microcredit loans for small business start ups. However, to achieve lasting stability and success, business training is a necessary component. This belief has guided FXB’s work for decades, and it’s working. After three years in the FXBVillage program, 100% of the households in Kyongera had household savings.

Today, all of Jamila’s children are completing their education, and she hopes they will go on to attend university. Jamila not only created a sustainable and healthy life for her children; she also secured a life for herself where she is empowered to create her own success.

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