“I was once employed to do menial jobs to enable me to take good care of our children’s needs, particularly their education, health and feeding,” says Harriet. “Sine THRIVEGulu introduced us to Village Savings Loans Association (VSLA), we no longer have to worry about being rejected by the bank to borrow loans, since we’re able to take loans from the scheme for our economic activities.”
In Gulu, THRIVE works with 25 VSLA groups of over 1,000 women and men. Each group saves together and provides small loans from the money to embark on petty trading and other income generating activities. The activities of the VSLA run in cycles of about one year, after which the accumulated savings and the loan profits are shared among the members according to the amount they saved.
In 2009, Harriet studied at Lacor St. Mary’s Hospital to get her certificate to be a nurse. She had some trouble finding steady work, and her dream was always to open a pharmacy (drug shop) of her own.
“It was not easy to open up this drug shop. But through the VSLA, I was able to put up my shop with (Ugx 500,000/ USD $140) loan I took from the scheme, always I get (600,000-750,000/ $170-$215) profit from my business per month. Out of this business, I’m paying for my children’s school fees including medical bills as well as feeding and rent,” Harriet said. Now her dream is to turn the drug shop into a clinic to serve her community. She believes is going to happen with the help of VSLA.