Beads to Business Graduate
Kampala, Uganda
Before joining BeadforLife, Sylvia faced a very difficult existence. She had been raised by an aunt after her mother died, and was forced to drop out of school because of the lack of school fees. Within 2 years she was married off, and soon became pregnant. In order to support her infant daughter, she started making samosas and selling them on the street, but earned only 2000 shillings a day - about 80 cents. 
 
"CONFIDENCE AND FOCUS." These are the two words that Sylvia says are the best things she received from her participation (with no prompting for me at all!) When asked what things had been the most important parts of the training to give her confidence and focus, she recalled two specific lessons. One was the universal lesson from numeracy training that one needs to earn more than one spends in order to move forward. Simple, but absolutely critical.The second was a training conducted by an alumni trainer. She asked the group to imagine that progress is a ladder, and you must prioritize and take each step to rise out of poverty. This session caused Sylvia to look at her life and realize she was not yet even at the base of the ladder. It was then that she realized it was in her power to choose to change her life.
 
Sylvia now runs not one, but two businesses in different parts of town. In Kireka, she has a shop that charges phones, sells airtime, and offers small snacks. She has an employee to run that business.She herself works everyday in Nakawa market where she has a stall selling chips (french fries) and sodas.She also employs one woman who takes the freshly fried chips and walks through the market to sell them to people who might not reach Sylvia's shop.These two businesses generate around $22 a week in profits, and Sylvia has over $220 saved in the bank. 
 
She stopped by the office in Uganda to tell the staff about a risk she took to attend a trade expo this past weekend which was wildly successful. She sold chips and beef at the 3 day fair, employing 2 people to market her products throughout the venue. She noted proudly that she had her pricing right (slightly lower than the competition), and good marketing with her assistants. When asked how much she made and she clarified "net or profit?" Here is a savvy business woman! She made $43 in profit from this three day effort. 
 

"Confidence and Focus"