More reporting from the Uganda expedition where we are meeting local Self Reliant Groups and getting and possibly giving inspiration!
Today we went to three rural communities with another partner organisation BRDC and between us met and talked with 6 different self-reliant groups. They are all organized in a similar way to ours, meeting weekly, saving together and supporting each other, creating an environment which allows them to move towards reaching their potential. We heard so many inspiring testimonials from group members about the way being a member of a group had transformed their lives, and although their context is so different we found much common ground and shared issues, and after such a brief encounter we still felt that we had made new friends. They also gave us more ideas which will help us grow the movement in Wales. We spent some time today with a self-help group in Mwanda - another rural one. We heard some fantastic testimonials and I thought I would write about just a couple of them. Lorna was a roadside seamstress, repairing clothes with a small treadle machine for passers by. She was invited to join the group and found friendship and support there and started saving small amounts - from this she was able to buy more materials and instead of working on the roadside she started to win contracts with schools to make school uniforms.
She also gained a goat kid through the group and the two things have improved her income significantly. She now has plans to get a second machine, train local girls and any group member who is interested and then take on bigger contracts which will employ them all! She also makes her own range of clothes and asked if we could sell it for her in the UK - I'm going to investigate!
Rebecca had a goat through the group, bred it successfully and is aiming to trade in her kids for a cow - and in the longer term wants to buy a motorbike so that her husband can earn an income as a bodaboda rider (like a taxi on a motorbike). She said she was very poor and unconfident and it is the group, especially the elderly women who gave good advice, who have helped her blossom. Great proof of the effectiveness of the groups, transforming the lives of individuals and bringing out the entrepreneur in them!
While we don't expect getting a goat to change lives in the UK (it might though) the principle of little incremental changes doing good and having a wider impact on the community and the economy is one that Purple Shoots embraces.