The Opportunity Progressive Trust Group in Kampala, Uganda is a robust illustration of the ways in which Trust Groups can strengthen a community, helping families provide for themselves, send their children to school and build for their futures.
Charity Namutebi has been a loan officer for one year in the Opportunity Uganda branch in Kira. She currently serves 455 clients in 20 Trust Groups working in Kalerwe Market, including the Progressive Trust Group. She begins her workday at the bank branch and then goes to the market for Trust Group meetings. In addition to collecting loan payments, and assessing the need for prospective loans, she also trains her clients in business practices and personal development, encouraging them to save and to take leadership positions in the Trust Group. She has built relationships with her clients and says that she loves being able to see that access to loans has helped them send their children to school, build homes and buy a car. Charity’s life, too, has been transformed by her work with Opportunity: she was able to buy her mother a house and to educate her siblings. Because of everything she has been given in life, she feels strongly about her work and giving back to society. She says that helping others thrive is her way of serving God. She hopes to one day become financially independent and would like to build a school to educate more children in the area.
Charity serves as Mariam Noah’s loan officer. Mariam says, “Charity is a very good person, she processes our loans promptly, guides us and show us how to save. Charity is like a relative to me.” Mariam is proprietress of the Ladybird Infant Primary School. Mariam hosts the Progressive Trust Group’s weekly meetings at the school and also employs Trust Group member Nuulu Nankya as a preschool teacher. Nuulu is also the chairperson of the Progressive Trust Group and a vendor of fruit drinks in the market. She has been able to build her business with the help of Opportunity loans and can now afford to send her children to school.
Members of the Progressive Trust Group send their children to Ladybird, and Mariam also supports their businesses in various ways. To make nutritious lunches for her students, she purchases fruits from farmer and Trust Group member David Mujanja.
Trust Group member James Kyeyune has a 12-year-old daughter at Ladybird and is a wholesaler of milk, sweet potatoes and watermelon, which he grows on his farm. He sells these items to the school for the students’ “break tea” at a lower price than Mariam could get elsewhere.
Rashid Kasolo sends his oldest child to Ladybird, and makes a weekly delivery of tomatoes to the school.
Eron Nabbagala is the parent of Ladybird students and supplies tomatoes, onions and potatoes to the school.
Ruth Nassimbwa sends her two youngest children to Ladybird, and sells onions, tomatoes and potatoes to the school so it can serve nutritious lunches to the students each day. Before 2006, Ruth had a hard time purchasing what she needed for her business. With loans from Opportunity, she’s been able to build up her inventory, adding more types of fruits and veggies such as green peppers and tomatoes.
Milly Nassuna is a Trust Group member who sells plantains to many other Opportunity clients.
Mariam buys school uniforms and dresses from Margaret Nassozi, a Trust Group member whose shop is located at the Ladybird School entrance.
These are just a few of connections that have been created by building a Trust Group, which supports a school, which in turn supports local Opportunity clients. Opportunity has brought together all of these people, helping them to create a thriving community.