A beautiful and tenuous lady is crawling along a dirt road in Eastern Uganda. She turns and smiles before crawling further. Her name is Sylvia Muzaki and her life has changed drastically the two last years due to iSAVE.
Sylvia is 30 years old and paralyzed due to Spine Bifida. She lives in Sironko District in Uganda together with her five kids from the age of 3 to 13 years old. They have no father nor husband to rely on. Sylvia stands with the responsibilities alone.
In 2014, she was recommended to be part of the inclusive savings and credit group – We Can Manage, which is part of the iSAVE Inclusive Economic Empowerment Programme. At that time, she had barely nothing. She began saving small amounts of money every week. Today she has a small business selling wood and coal.
Today she is able to feed all her kids and herself. She is self-reliant. Her life has gotten a new meaning and she now has hope for the future. Not only for herself but also her kids.
Together with Sylvia we met Huijarn Namuyonaja. She is 20 years old and blind. She is not yet in a savings and credit group. However, through Sylvia’s wood and coal business, Huijarn also has an income now. She is a hard working woman with a grave look on her face. She is very proud of being able to assist Sylvia. They both have met new friends and do not feel alone anymore due to iSAVE.
The Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) has studied the outcomes of some We Can Manage- groups of iSAVE, and there is evidence of an increase among the ones who have saved. An increase not only in income, but also in sense of wellbeing. After becoming a part of an inclusive savings and credit group, the majority of the members feel more respected and proud of being self-reliant. They have hope for the future. Let us hope more people can benefit from the savings and credit Groups such as Sylvia and Huijarn.
Written by Tone Elin Liavaag and Ingrid Ch. Sandnæs
Photo credit Poul Henning Nielsen