Dreaming of a new future
Beatrice took part in our livelihoods project in Adjumani district of Uganda. We look at how the project supported her goals and how her homemade beaded bag and purse business is going from strength to strength.
Beatrice is 25 years old. She lives with her two sisters and her brother-in-law in Northern Uganda. Beatrice is blind and has faced a lot of discrimination because of her disability. The majority of her family members even isolated her.
Why the project is needed in Uganda
Being discriminated against by her community also meant that Beatrice was often deprived of her basic needs. She couldn’t access essential products like sanitary towels, soap, water and sometimes even food.
Despite the challenges, Beatrice’s older sister funded her education until 2015. She completed senior four at St Francis Secondary School for the Blind. Beatrice enjoyed learning, and her dream was to become a teacher. She felt it would be a profession that could make real change in society. But because of the barriers in her community, she was not able to pursue her dream.
Because of myths and misconceptions around disability, it was difficult for Beatrice to find work. As a result, she did not feel secure in her community.
How Beatrice found our project
After years of unemployment, Beatrice heard about Leonard Cheshire’s Livelihoods project on the radio. The project, delivered in partnership with Cheshire Services Uganda, aimed to build the confidence of young women with disabilities in the Adjumani district. Through skills training, the project supported women to gain essential skills. It supported them to increase their livelihoods opportunities and help them gain an income.
After hearing the adverts on Aulogo FM, Beatrice decided to enrol in the project. She received four months of artisan training in making beaded bags, purses and necklaces. As part of a start-up kit, Beatrice received seven packets of beads, three bags and three purses. She is now running a successful business selling these products.
She also received business management skills training and psychosocial counselling. This has helped Beatrice manage her business effectively.
The impact of our project
Beatrice has been steadily improving her sales through delivery of quality products and customer retention. Her work with her customers has also led to other customer referrals. Now she makes a steady living.
“I am now able to buy sanitary towels, clothes and soap. I also purchased a phone for myself,” explained Beatrice. With the phone, she can take calls and orders from customers.
Support after the project
The project team has continued to support Beatrice. After facing challenges accessing beads due to limited availability nearby, a member of the project team, May, helped Beatrice restock.
As well as gaining new skills through the project, Beatrice’s self-esteem has also improved. As a result of her business’ success, Beatrice has new dreams for her future. She dreams of a future filled with farms of goats, a sign of wealth and prosperity in Uganda, and a family of her own.