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© 2016 Opportunity Internationala 501(c)3 nonprofit.

Paying it Forward to Maids-a-Milking

By Diane Ferguson

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, eight maids-a-milking...

Mother to eight children, Alice Katuramy certainly has her hands full. Surrounded by abject poverty in rural Uganda, life has not been easy. Choosing between food and education, an untenable prospect for any loving parent, was a daily decision she was forced for make. A dedicated mom, Alice is no stranger to rolling up her sleeves to toil alongside her husband, rearing cattle for beef. Today, her farm is thriving – she has even opened her first savings account which allowed her to expand by purchasing dairy cows for milking. Alice is a change maker who ensures her children have hope-filled futures and her neighbors have an inspirational mentor, earning her a special spotlight on day eight of our twelve days of Christmas blogs.

A Natural Entrepreneur

Alice learned about Opportunity Uganda in 2013 and what she has achieved since then is nothing short of amazing. Having struggled to run a profitable farming operation, Alice was not only grateful to access a loan, which she invested to purchase additional head of cattle, but she was especially delighted to receive the business skills and financial literacy training she needed to become a successful businesswoman. A natural born entrepreneur, she absorbed the training like a sponge and even stepped up to help the other women members of the Empara Farmer’s Trust Group along their own journeys out of poverty.

A Pay-it-Forward Attitude

With a few loans over the past two years and extensive business skills and technical farming training and support, Alice’s list of achievements is extensive. She has learned the importance of diversifying her business as she expands to reduce the gap created by seasonal incomes associated with agriculture. In response, she began to grow and sell eucalyptus trees and she also reinvested her profits to construct a rental building with ten rooms to bring in consistent income. Perhaps most importantly, Alice is giving back to her community by creating jobs for four neighbors and acting as a mentor to women in her community who benefit from her willingness to share business management and modern farming practice advice.

“When young women from the village ask me about running a profitable farm, I tell them they must be willing to work very hard if they are to raise quality cattle. I teach them the modern practices I have learned through Opportunity. They are always surprised by the instant improvements.”

I can be all that God wants me to be!

Three of Alice’s children, who are now growing into young adults, are young women. Although Alice loves her role as strong women farmer, her daughters are not maids-a-milking. “I didn’t think I would ever say this - I am a provider for my children. I have experienced the joy of feeling proud of myself, especially after raising my female children to be self-sufficient, despite the sexual inequality in my community. All three of my daughters are on the road to success and it makes me proud. I dream that all eight of my children will be able to finish their education and that my business will continue to grow. I am grateful that Opportunity Uganda provided the tools I needed to succeed to empower me to achieve growth in my business, family and community on my own. With each interaction at the bank and with my loan officer, God presents Himself so that I may experience His love for me. The Lord wants me to be all that I can be and Opportunity is His hands and feet.” 

It is our hope that you feel the same sense of purpose and joy that we do when you consider your Opportunity International impact this holiday season. When we refer to our more than 12 million clients, each and every number is a very hardworking man or women like Alice who has their own story to share.

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