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Alleviating Poverty through Trust Groups

By Brad Skeba

Recently I had a chance to visit our clients in Uganda. As a writer for Opportunity International, I’ve become quite familiar with our Trust Group model, but never had the chance to see it in action. It was everything I’d written about for years, but so much more. The friendship between the group members was clearly evident, and though I didn’t understand the language, it was obvious that important business was happening and friendships were being strengthened. I wanted to share with you one of my favorite Trust Group stories, so that you too might become inspired to see an Opportunity International Trust Group in action and personally witness that poverty cannot stand in places where friends invest in their love for one another.

A group of entrepreneurs are gathered in Lubanda Village, a rural community in southwestern Uganda. Among the dozen or so gathered are a salon owner, fishmonger and even a men’s clothier. They are the Suubi (“Hope”) Trust Group (pictured below), and they have gathered to repay their loans, participate in training and discuss their successes and challenges.

Women in a trust group

Fred Lubanga shares about his fish supply business and how acquiring a motorcycle has increased deliveries and generates additional income as a taxi service. Rogers Manyana, 55, the group’s vice chair, tells of his son who recently graduated from university; his business has provided tuition for four graduates to date. Jolly Naima used her loan to purchase three additional salon hair dryers amid her steadily increasing clientele; soon she will hire help, and her loan officer leads a discussion about hiring with character. After a while, they pray and adjourn with handshakes, hugs and a few jokes.

The transformation of the Suubi Trust Group has inspired the transformation of the Lubanda Village Community. Neighbors have been hired. More children are going to school, their God-given skills returning their parents’ investment. Together they are creating a community no longer defined by poverty, but by transformation. They have been transformed by investing in the love they have with one another. 

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