We first met Joseph and Florence in 2012 as part of our work with Habitat for Humanity. They live in Luwero, Uganda, a rural village where the majority of people rely on substinence farming. Through the microfinance loan system, Joseph and Florence have managed to build a secure home, a priority to ensure the safety of their children, in particular their son, who from a very young age had been very ill and when we returned in February this year, had sadly passed away.
The loans system has allowed the family to build and provide a home they can be proud of, that ensures their children have somewhere clean and safe to grow up. In turn, the loans allow the family to spend their wages on more immediate costs such as education, food, clothing and healthcare, as they gradually pay the home improvement loans back over an agreed period of time. Whilst their son was ill, his condition meant he required constant care which ultimately prevented Florence from working. This, combined with declining harvests has over time reduced the family’s income potential. Without the microfinance loan system, they would have been unable to achieve all they have in terms of their home development.
The family are very driven, Joseph and Florence’s desire to build a house they can be proud of encourages aspirations, pride and eventually breaks the poverty cycle as the children understand the importance of studying to ensure that they have a good future. Joseph works in sales and marketing and Florence wants to be able to provide her children with all the things they want and works hard to do so, she belongs to a women’s group which empowers the women in their community as they all contribute a proportion of their wages each month. Through this money they can help and support each other with varying challenges. Without the microfinance loans it would be far more difficult for Florence to participate as her savings would be used towards the home improvements.
Through the microfinance loans the family have been able to create an environment to raise their children that encourages prosperity and aspiration. Many poverty related health issues can be avoided purely through having somewhere clean to live that provides a barrier to diseases. A decent home also creates a more stable environment, encouraging families to stay together, creating a stronger family unit and ultimately stronger communities. Strong communities put greater pressure on governments to provide more services including better healthcare and schooling, eventually breaking the cyclic nature of poverty.