"My grandchildren have a provider, who has stepped into their father’s shoes since he’s gone" - Irene finds hope for her grandchildren through small business loan.
Currently, the most popular type of venture from our loan scheme are vegetable businesses, with over a quarter of all loan participants starting up stalls. One of these business owners is Irene, who is 60 years old and a grandmother responsible for three orphaned children.
She used to live alone after her two children grew up and left to start their own families. She mainly survived on the support her son Godfrey provided, though once in a while she did casual work like laundry or helping in people’s fields to earn some extra income. Through this time, she always had an idea of starting up a vegetable business, but had limited funds which weren’t sufficient enough even for her basic needs.
Tragically, her son Godfrey died, and Irene took on his children, as their mother had divorced Godfrey and disappeared a few years before. At this time, Irene realised that she had not only had the responsibility of taking care of these children, but with her son gone, she was the only earner.
Despite her interest in starting up a vegetable business, she was still limited by a lack of capital. During this crisis she began to talk with Joyce, who had started her own business through the Children on the Edge education loan programme. She introduced Irene to the local Child Protection Team, who in turn introduced her to the loans officer.
After an assessment, Irene was was given a loan of 200,000 Ugandan shillings, which she used to start up the long wished for vegetable stall beside her house. Edwin Wanabe, Programme Director for Children on the Edge Africa said “Irene’s business is doing well. It is from this that she is able to provide for her grandchildren’s basic needs and education. She is very grateful for the great support given to her. She often expresses her joy by telling our loan’s officer how she has hope that, through the business, her grandchildren have a provider, who has stepped into their father’s shoes since he’s gone”.