A Lifeline in a COVID-19 Lockdown

Day in and day out, Dorine Opoka works tirelessly as a farmer on a small plot of land to provide for her family. She doesn’t mind the long days and exhausting labor because she knows she’s paving the path—brick by brick—to a brighter future for her children.

Dorine and her husband budget carefully with what little money they have, and buying fuel for cooking and lighting their home was always one of their biggest expenses. When they learned about FINCA’s affordable energy enterprise, BrightLife, they were eager to bring solar energy into their home, knowing it would save them money and create a healthier environment for their children.

Looking at their budget, they realized Dorine’s earnings could cover the pay-as-you-go financing for their solar home system. And they saw that once they’d paid off the system, they’d be able to put the money they would normally spend on fuel into savings each month. They decided to invest in a solar home system knowing it would reap dividends for their family.

Preparing for some hard choices

Their careful budgeting was paying off and Dorine was diligently paying for the family’s solar home system with her earnings. But then, the COVID-19 crisis changed everything.

When the Ugandan government issued its stay-at-home order, Dorine had countless questions swirling through her head. Could she keep her family safe from the virus? What if someone needed medical care? If she couldn’t leave home, how could she earn a living? How would her family eat?

Dorine wasn’t alone in asking these questions, of course. FINCA International surveyed our clients in the region and learned that the women and men we serve were just as concerned about their economic situation as they were about the virus.

Dorine was prepared to make some hard choices when she got a call from her BrightLife agent: her solar home system would be turned on for the next month, free of charge, thanks to the generosity of FINCA supporters like you.

The lifeline

Dorine instantly felt a weight lifted off her shoulders. She had one less bill to worry about, one less trade-off to make, and more time to figure out a budget for her family until she could get back to work.

Living without energy in their home during a stay-at-home order would have been devastating for Dorine’s family. But through your support of FINCA, her family and thousands of others were able to keep energy in their homes free of charge, allowing them to hear pandemic news on the radio, charge their cell phones, keep their children learning from home, and stay productive at night to earn extra income.

Through the FINCA Emergency Response Fund, FINCA is responding to the immediate and ongoing financial, livelihood, and health needs of customers and their communities across FINCA’s global network of banks and social enterprises in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Contributions to the fund provide flexible financial support to small and micro-businesses and high-impact start-ups working in health, education, energy and agriculture, and mobilize FINCA’s financial system—the FINCA Impact Finance network—to support vulnerable communities.

In the best of times, your generosity is life-changing for families in need. But at times like this, your generosity is essential and needed more than ever. Thank you for being a lifeline to families like Dorine’s.