Hellen Adong, Uganda

Hellen is already 50 years old, but still has six children in her care. She, like so many women in her community, has taken in orphaned children and is working hard to ensure that they have a chance at a bright and happy future.

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In 2010, Hellen was struggling to make ends meet just providing for basic needs of shelter and food. Working as a petty trader she was earning just 50,000 UGX ($20) per month.

Then, she joined a Caregivers group convened through CAP/AIDS’ local partner Needy Support Centre. With funding and technical assistance through the CAP/AIDS Network, these caregivers received training, mentorship and start-up capital to establish new cooperative enterprises. Taking what they had learned and with their investment of $2,000, these 18 caregivers were able to purchase all the supplies and tools they needed to begin a jewelry making and SimSim paste production workshop.

By the end of 2012, Hellen was earning 200,000 UGX per month, and was supporting four of the children to attend school. A remarkable transformation for her family in a short time!

Now that their business has become more established, Hellen’s income has increases to over 280,000 UGX ($120) per month – enough to provide for all the children to attend school, receive medical care and take care of all their household needs.

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Not that Hellen’s efforts as a Caregiver is easy. Hellen’s family along with much of the Needy Support Centre membership has twice been evicted from their rented homes in squatter settlements of Kampala. Having to relocate for second time just recently is putting pressure on their group as they are no longer living in close proximity. Nonetheless, they are determined to continue in their enterprise and to support each other as a group. Together they are supporting more than 89 children!

FROM THE ARCHIVES – check out this video made by a former intern about the NSC Caregivers group back in 2012.

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