Molly Okello lives in Aboke, northern Uganda with her husband Oscar and their baby girl. Since both have lost parents, they also care for seven younger brothers and sisters – a big responsibility for the young couple.
Imagine, in their early thirties, a young married couple here in Canada might be considering buying a home, enjoying their first child and worrying about finding the ideal work/life balance. Molly and Oscar were worrying about how they’d feed 10 children. How on earth they’d ever be able to send them to school. How to decide between investing in their small farm and meeting their basic needs today.
In June 15, 2010, Molly was invited to join the caregivers group of our local partner the Aboke HIV&AIDS Women’s Association. This was the day her life began to change.
Within six months Molly had participated in four one-on-one coaching sessions which helped her build a plan for earning an income while still being able to care for her family and had participated in a five-day training on running a small agricultural business. Then, early in 2011, she, along with the other caregivers in her group, were provided with piglets, goats to start backyard animal raising enterprises as well as high yield, in-demand seeds for planting and oxen to help them to farm larger plots of land.
Within a year, Molly’s income had increased from a just UGX 30,000 (just 50¢ a day) to UGX 210,000 – a 600% increase!
In the summer of 2012, Molly took part in a refresher training and was given a small capital investment to help her to expand her operations. By then, she was already providing three meals a day and paying for all seven kids to attend school.
Molly’s income has continued to improve and she has since expanded her animal holdings to include a cow. She has been diligently saving in the past year so that she can afford the cost of secondary school – since her brother will, this year, be the first in the family to go on to a secondary education.
Molly and Oscar have embraced being parents for a large family and thanks to a small investment can provide not just care, but a future!