Hometown: Kampala City, Uganda
Loves: Being an entrepreneur and supporting her family with what she earns
Seventeen years ago, Christine’s husband was unemployed and her family was very poor, living in a tiny house, and unable to afford to send three of her eight children to school. Then, Christine became connected with Global Fund for Women grantee partner, Ntulume Village Women’s Development Association (NVIWODA), which promotes economic empowerment of grass-roots women through skills training and education on gender equality, business skills, and women’s rights. Through the group, Christine met other women entrepreneurs who shared their knowledge about building their own businesses.
Christine started a wine-making business, which quickly grew and allowed her to expand into other markets, including farming, which also supports all of her family’s food needs. She says she now lives in a beautiful house on land she owns and is the main breadwinner in her family. Through NVIWODA she has encouraged other women in her community to follow her lead. She says the women in the group are “like sisters” who support each other, even with financial loans. “I think we have no barriers here,” says Christine.
Christine says that although her husband has always been kind and respectful, this is not the case for most women in her area. Learning these crafts through training sessions helps these women gain the respect of their husbands and allows them to have some autonomy. Christine wants women in her community to be able to make personal decisions, and believes that women’s rights means women being able to do something that is theirs, something that their husbands cannot take from them. She believes entrepreneurship, enabled by NVIWODA, reaches these goals, and she encourages women in her community to take risks to become empowered. “Risks are important because if you don’t risk, you can’t start,” says Christine. “You have to be brave.”
Christine has seen how much she has helped her village, and has made her family and herself proud along the way. She says, “You become very busy, but empowering women, you feel good afterwards.” In the future, she hopes to expand her business, and help to empower more women, both in their work and independence.