We first met Emmanuel and Teddy and their 3 children in 2012 as part of our work with Habitat for Humanity Uganda. The family had taken out several microfinance loans through the home improvements loan system which they had used to begin work on their family home. With all the supplies purchased and the foundations in place there was only the building that remained.

In April 2014 the family suffered a major setback when Teddy and her youngest son were involved in a serious motorbike accident, causing the family to turn all their attention and finances onto the family’s medical care. Their son, in particular suffered severe head injuries and required extensive medical treatment, consequently their traditional form of income, growing and harvesting pineapples and coffee was put on hold as Emmanuel’s attention and finances were diverted to ensuring his family had the best chance possible at making a full recovery. Understandably work on their home stopped.

After two months in hospital both Teddy and her son were allowed to return home, their medical treatment costing a total of 1.5 million Ugandan Shillings – the equivalent (at the time) of £375, a huge amount for the family. As a result of their hospital treatment, Emmanuel considered selling part of their land to allow him to complete the work on their home, luckily through the help of their community the family have been able to keep their land and begin building again.

Emmanuel and Teddy’s story highlights the setbacks that make the microfinance loans so important. Without the help of Habitat for Humanity the family would have struggled to have saved the money required to pay for medical care and continue on with necessary home improvements. When their home is complete they will not only have a safe environment for their children to grow up but will have the associated benefits of a good home, eventually helping to break the cycle of poverty.