Small Business Struggles
It’s always a wonderful feeling when you are down; whether physically, emotionally or financially and someone gives you a hand to support you through that situation. It brightens your world and leaves your heart overwhelmed with joy.
In Uganda, Covid-19 caused many problems and many small businesses were impacted. The transportation restrictions made owners walk long distances to restock. They were challenged with huge increases in the price of this stock and low profits, which left their small businesses devastated.
Margaret* owned a small business in one of the slums in Jinja, Uganda. She sold clothes and vegetables from a stall near her home so she could care for her young children. Before lockdown, it was running smoothly and she was very proud of it. Through it she had achieved so much for her and her family. This business helped her save and let her children go to school as well as pay for rent, clothes, medicine and food. She was an independent single mother who was more than capable of taking care of her children.
When Covid-19 struck, at first people didn’t take it seriously and thought the lockdown would end quickly. People used their life savings to support their families, including Margaret.
She had previously separated from her husband but due to the lockdown impacting her business, she had to take two of her five children back to their father. It was a very difficult decision but she felt there was no alternative as she could not look after them all. Life became really hard and Margaret had to do all sorts of work in people’s homes to get food or cash. She struggled to make ends meet and to provide meals for her and her three remaining children.
Meanwhile, the two boys she had left with their father were also finding life tough. One day, when the youngest could not take any further abuse from his father, he decided to run away and find his mum in Jinja without realising how big the city was. He became lost and homeless but was luckily found by the S.A.L.V.E. International team on one of their street walks.
Support in Tough Times
He was given counselling at S.A.L.V.E.’s residential site and our team were able to trace Margaret; however she was worried about being able to support another child while she was already struggling. She was referred to our Family Business Empowerment programme to ensure she had a stable source of income to help the resettled child and to prevent others from the family having to go on the streets.
Margaret completed the programme and her business did so well that she was able to support her family and even save for a new plot of land to live on. Her current shoe business is doing well and her children are fed and at school. Margaret is so grateful to S.A.L.V.E. for all their hard work in supporting her and her family.
*Name changed in line with our Child Protection Policy