The Child Care Project helps single mothers to emerge from their bitter poverty and establish a sustainable existence for their families and their children who also attend our school. The women receive a humble amount of money from us to manage their living with their small tailoring or agricultural business. Furthermore, we plan to organize training courses for them, in that they can gain essential skills that enable them to run their business successfully.
The main effect of our support is that the children get enough food and education. This way not only the families’ recent living standards are improved, but also the children have better future chances to get proper jobs.
On our visit to Uganda in the past, we had the opportunity to talk to three single mothers and find out what difficulties they struggle with. Here are the reports:
Zahara is 30 years old and has four children. Two of them are attending our school, the other two are already too old, so they have to go to other schools. Zahara earns her money by selling bananas, which are mostly made from matoke (a banana porridge). At our request, she explained to us her business model: She buys a whole perennial bananas (about 20 – 25 kg) for 30,000 UGX directly from the truck and then sells them on the market for about 33,000 UGX within one to three days. So she just makes a profit of 3,000 UGX in that time, which is equivalent to not even one euro. Even for Ugandan standards, this is a very bad income. It is hard to imagine how Zahara can live with her four children for several days. She explained that sometimes she eats nothing and is often allowed to eat with neighbors. Sometimes she has to eat her own bananas, which of course reduces her profits. Her starting capital from the CCP has used her up for her living expenses (rent, medicines, children’s school, etc.), and she often finds it very difficult to raise the 30,000 UGX to buy a banana tree from it again. A particular problem for them is that the bananas sometimes spoil quickly if they are already very mature and they will not get sold in such a short time. When asked what she needed most, she said she needed new seed money to buy more bananas, then sell more and make more profit. However, we consider this to be very questionable, because she says it sometimes does not even manage to sell a shrub before it becomes moldy. There does not seem to be enough demand in our opinion to sell more bananas in the same or less time. What Zahara needs next to money would be help in planning her business. We asked her if she would rather do something else to earn her money, but that was denied because she had done so long with the bananas and could do well. But maybe we have to persuade them to do something else to make more profit. There are a lot of banana vendors on the streets, it’s a very hard business and maybe we can find something for her that will make her more money.
Eseza is 22 years old and mother of five. Two of them are her biological children, the other three are children of her brother, which she took with her after he died. A child is at our CCP school. Her husband died of intestinal problems in February 2014. Unfortunately, we could not find out what exactly happened, the medical care in the smaller towns and villages is unfortunately bad, maybe that’s why Eseza could not even say it exactly.
She earns her living by selling coal and working as a seamstress. She has her own sewing machine. She buys coal in a big sack for 27,000 UGX and sells it within three days for a total of 37,000 UGX. With her sewing, she earns an average of 2,000 UGX a day. You therefore have about 5,000 UGX per day for daily life with five children. This is clearly not enough for a family of six.
Eseza has been supported by the CCP since her husband’s death. However, until now there were hardly any resources available with which we could help the mothers.
Eseza says she needs more capital for her business to make more money. When asked if she could earn more money with another job, she told us that she would like to sell second-hand clothes. In Kampala, you can buy a big sack that contains just over a cubic meter of unsorted second-hand clothing from Europe for 600,000 UGX, which is about $ 160 (these are the clothes we throw into the old-fashioned containers at home). She could then sell her clothes in the villages within one week for 800,000 UGX. If this bill goes up, it could multiply her income.
Safina is 30 years old and has four children. Two of them go to our school, the other two are already too old, so they have to go to another school. Safina’s husband died in a traffic accident last year. She has a sewing machine and a small shop, like so many people here in the villages in Uganda. In addition, Safina is the cook in our school. Her work with the sewing machine usually means the production of school uniforms. As a cook, Safina earns 100,000 UGX monthly, with her shop an average of 60,000 UGX, and with her sewing activity the monthly income fluctuates between 40,000 and 80,000 UGX. Thus Safina stays with her family between 6,500 and 8,000 UGX a day.
Safina would also need more capital to buy more goods for her store, as this is mostly empty, because she does not have the money to increase her inventory.
We plan to create individual business plans, as we believe it is not enough simply to provide more capital.