When we think about strong moms, we think of Margaret Nakalyango. A 35-year old mother of two children of her own, she also now takes responsibility for seven people. When Margaret lost her husband two years ago to kidney disease, she was left with a small house, which she could only keep if she took responsibility for her two sister-in-laws and their children.
Before joining Street Business School (SBS-our sister organization), the weight of feeding seven stomachs lay on her shoulders with no income. She tried many jobs including a matatu (bus) conductor, a job that is predominantly for men. A woman must be brave and resilient to do this job. Her day began at 4am, when she’d leave her house in the dark to go to the Matatu stage and book one for the day. She earned $.60 – $3/day, and this ended when new regulation came into place, where she couldn’t afford the fees.
Margaret was not sure what to do next, and she heard the call for SBS in her Luzira community, so she enrolled. She learned about this from a community leader who fell in love with SBS after attending a graduation ceremony. This leader did whatever it took to invite SBS to her own community to benefit women like Margaret.
As soon as Margaret attended SBS, she felt the spark. “As soon as I was told that I am my own capital, I started. I never knew how creative I was until I joined SBS,” she said. She began washing and ironing clothes for working-class people, and earned $3/day. This covered her living expenses, plus she had savings. With support from her SBS Coaches, Margaret launched more businesses selling general merchandise in the city center and making books at home. She eventually earned supplier credit and now sells items that are in high demand, making $22/day.
Life has changed for the better for Margaret and her children! Serving three meals a day to her family warms her heart, and sending children to school comforts and reassures her that they will have a secure future. This is a dream come true for mothers in Uganda, and for Margaret!
*This story was captured before the COVID-19 pandemic, and SBS is staying connected with the women to encourage and creating a campaign to support them.