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International Women’s Day: Coming Together to Recognize and Celebrate

By Marisa Brown

International Women’s Day is about coming together to recognize and celebrate the social, economic and political achievements of women all around the world. On this global day of celebration, it’s important to focus on the individual stories of women who show resilience, strength and courage each and every day. Opportunity International works with these very same women. With determination, knowledge, entrepreneurial spirit and courage, plus the support of microfinance services, these women transform their lives, improve their families’ lives and impact their communities.

With Opportunity’s loans, Rosemary Namande has founded a school that cares for and educates orphans in Kampala Uganda. She reinvests her profits to further improve and empower her community. Rosemary is truly an essential client, advancing the mission of Opportunity International.

Here is the story of Rosemary Namande. If you want to be inspired or need a story to celebrate on International Women’s Day, let it be that of Rosemary. 

Rosemary’s life has been deeply affected by the AIDS epidemic, which has taken her daughter, two siblings and a nephew and left 11 children without parents. Rosemary adopted these children, providing them shelter, safety, support and an education. Her capacity to educate and offer housing for the children in her community has greatly expanded since she opened a school for infants 40 years ago.  Today, equipped with a staff of over 50 people and loans from Opportunity, she has five permanent buildings that house her elementary school and orphanage and enable her to provide over 900 children with an education.

Rosemary’s impact doesn’t end with the children. She uses the increased income from her loans to reinvest in her community. She adopts orphans, hires widows to teach marketable skills, helps women establish businesses, leads a local women’s council, and opens her school to other community activities.  

Rosemary is driven by the belief that education leads to a better life for this and the next generation. By teaching academic lessons and life skills, Rosemary prepares the leaders of tomorrow in Uganda. One of these is former student Patricia Tukahirwa, who recently received training through Opportunity’s LEAD initiative. The program identifies and develops talented young professionals and prepares them for management positions within Opportunity.

I believe that Susan Gillette of Women’s Opportunity Network had Rosemary in mind when she said “Strong women mother the world.” If you know other strong women like Rosemary who mother the world or simply inspire you to be a better person, please post a tribute to them on the Global Opportunity Quilt. This is one way we are celebrating the unique stories of inspiring women on International Women’s Day.

Go to www.optinnow.org/quilt to post your tribute and to read other tributes.

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