Teach a woman to fish…and everyone eats

Florence Nabukenya and her husband care for three children of their own as well as four orphans, who were left to them by Florence’s siblings when they died of HIV/AIDS. Before Florence became a FINCA client in 1993, the family of nine shared a single bedroom in a very small house in Namuwongo, a slum in Kampala, the capital of Uganda. Aside from all the children, Florence also had to provide for her mother, who suffers from high blood pressure and diabetes, and lives in a village in a rural area of Uganda.

To help support her family, Florence had started a small business selling fish in the local market, but she didn’t earn enough to feed the children more than two meals a day, or send them to good schools. One day, when she was visiting her mother, Florence spoke to several women who were FINCA clients about how the organization had helped them build their businesses and change their family’s living standards. When she returned to Namuwongo, Florence mobilized some of her neighbors and they asked a FINCA credit officer to help them form a Village Banking group. After training, they began to receive FINCA loans.

Florence’s first FINCA loan, back in 1993, was for 100,000 shillings—then about $40. She used it to purchase bulk quantities of fish from a wholesaler, so that she could earn more when she sold them to her customers. Over time, thanks to her hard work, business acumen and steadily growing FINCA loans, Florence was able to expand her business and even acquire a small shop and a farm.

Today, Florence is still a loyal FINCA client and she is currently borrowing 3,500,000 shillings—about $1,500—to finance her growing businesses. Florence is very proud and happy that she was able to send the children to better schools and then on to university. She was able to build a larger house for her family and also build a small house for her ailing mother in her home village. Florence’s most ambitious plans now call for buying land to put up a commercial building so she can rent out retail space and continue to earn a living when she retires.