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Kwania: Emyooga funds improving livelihoods of PWDs

KWANIA – Persons with disabilities under Kwania North PWD Emyooga SACCO are flourishing in both their businesses and livelihoods and now want more money to further grow their businesses.

The SACCO which has 162 members received funds under Emyooga Programme launched in August 2019 to boost job and wealth creation. Some of the SACCO’s members are engaged in welding, produce, carpentry, general merchandise, retail business, tailoring, and farming among several others.

Under the Emyooga Programme, each SACCO received Shs 30 million seed capital, even though SACCOs formed by political leaders received Shs 50mln to help members innovate and grow their business.

James Abili, a resident of Teduka ward, Aduku town council in Kwania district said he was able to buy essential materials for his welding business after getting a loan from his Emyooga SACCO. Abili who is an active member of the SACCO said he has six workers and has trained 14 other youth in welding.

“I was a welder but I lacked working materials, when I joined Emyooga group, I borrowed Shs 1 million and a grinder, welding machine. This has enabled me to also train other youths in welding. I employ six workers,” Abili said.

Abili wants government to provide more seed capital to Emyooga beneficiaries, adding he plans to venture into maize business having acquired a threshing machine.

Meanwhile, Lydia Abuk Oweta, a resident of Aduku town council said she used a loan from her SACCO to expand her stationery business, adding that she has also ventured into farming using Emyooga funds.

“Emyooga money has changed my life. I have expanded my stationery business. I used a loan of Shs 2 million and bought 18 sacks of groundnuts which gave me a profit of Shs 200,000. I further invested in growing maize and groundnuts. I have 30 bags of maize and 17 bags of groundnuts in my store. My life will never be the same,” Abuk said.

Gilbert Eron, the PWD interpreter for Kwania district who is also the secretary of Kwania County PWD Emyooga SACCO appreciated government for including PWDs in the Emyopoga Programme, saying they will not be left behind in terms of development.

Eron said this has made many of them to cater for their family needs especially in paying school fees for their children.

“I want to thank the Government of Uganda for considering the PWDs in the Emyooga Programme. We have people who don’t hear but they got the loans and have initiated their own small businesses and are able to pay school fees for their children and meet other family needs,” Eron said.

He added that the rate of begging has reduced among the PWDs in Kwania district because of the Emyooga funds.

“They used to move all over begging for foodstuffs, money but now that they have been given something to do, the level of begging has reduced. The PWDs are busy in their businesses, and gardens,” he said.

Tom Okello, the treasurer of Kwania North Persons with Disability Emyooga SACCO said the members are always paying back the loans although there are defaulters.

“Our members are always paying back their loan although other people have not yet paid back and we are continuing to talk to them so that they pay, for others to also benefit,” he said.

At the moment, the SACCO has a total of 25 defaulters with an outstanding loan of Shs 29 million.

Mable Nabada, the Lango zonal manager at Microfinance Support Centre [MSC] expressed joy for the good performances of the SACCO under Emyooga programme.

“We are happy for the good work they are doing, they have fully embraced the programme. They now don’t have challenges of moving to other banking institutions in case they want a loan,” Nabada said.

According to MSC, the ultimate objective of the Emyooga programme is to facilitate the socio-economic transformation of households from subsistence to the money economy and market-oriented production.

The initiative also intends to: increase employment opportunities, improve the household incomes of the target beneficiaries, and enhance the entrepreneurial capacity of the beneficiaries through sensitisation, skilling, and tooling

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