As part of the storytelling component of our Annual General Meeting last Friday, Hope Prisons shared several success stories from their income generating projects. Because MCC’s partnership with Hope Prisons only focuses on primary education, Hope Prisons had to think outside of the box about how they could empower families so that children could continue their education into high school and beyond. With only a very small amount of money for a “pilot project” in income generating activities, Hope Prisons was able to turn this small investment into huge returns. Because I was so impressed with the stories that William shared, I decided to devote another blog to telling some Hope Prisons stories.
Here are some of the most inspiring stories of what these women were able to do with a little bit of capital:
Beatrice is a single mother who has two children that are being sponsored by Hope Prisons. Her husband was in prison for several years and then abandoned his family upon his release, and Beatrice had been struggling to provide for her family. When William first met her, she was living in a very poor house in terrible conditions. With the money given to her by Hope Prisons, she was able to set up a small food vending business where she cooks food and sells it out of her house. The income she has earned from the business has enabled her to move into a good house and provide a better life for her children.
With the small loan that Betty was given, she was able to open her own salon. With the profits she made, she was able to pay for both her daughter and son to attend high school. Her daughter, who was able to finish high school, is currently studying to be a nurse. Her son is in his second year of high school and is performing very well. After serving a five year prison sentence, her husband was released and is back with his family; however he has not been able to find work since he was released.
Florence and her husband separated after he was released from prison. Although Hope Prisons works with ex-prisoners to transition back into society and encourages them to return to their families, it is common for men to abandon their families after being released. The combination of having been away for so long as well as the pressure to provide for their families amidst the difficulty of finding employment drives many men away. With her loan from Hope, Florence was able to open a small retail shop. With the profits from her shop she is able to take care of her 7 children, 4 of whom are currently sponsored by Hope Prisons.
The final inspirational story is about a young boy who was almost forced to drop out of school in only fourth grade because his father was sent to prison. He was accepted into the sponsorship program, and was consistently #1 throughout primary and secondary school. After finishing secondary school, he performed so well on his exams that he was given a full scholarship to study medicine at Uganda’s largest public university Makerere. This is one of the most prestigious scholarships a Ugandan student can receive, and it is even more impressive in light of all of the challenges this young man has faced in his life, and the fact that he almost didn’t make it to fifth grade. He is currently in his second year at the University and is looking forward to become a doctor and give back to his community.
I’ll be sharing more stories and photos from our AGM in the next few posts…