A Thread of Hope: The Sewing Machine That Helped Feed Hundreds

Business is still pretty much a man’s world in Uganda. Little credit is extended to women, and more than half of the female labor force is unpaid.

But Hellen, who lives in Soroti, one of the most impoverished regions of Uganda, had children to feed and educate. When Hellen got a small $300 business grant and training from Village Enterprise, she stitched a clear path out of poverty for her family and dozens more.

Village Enterprise business owner Hellen sewing

First, Hellen trained to become a tailor, used her start-up grant to rent a sewing machine, buy fabric, and grow her tailoring business. But community-minded Hellen didn’t stop there. She bought sewing machines, hired a part-time employee, and amazingly, created a vocational school to train 40 other at-risk women to sew.

Finally, when Hellen saw students came to school hungry, she started a restaurant that employs more people! Hellen went on to build a church and plans to create a hair salon and another school. “I am so proud of myself—to think I came from so little and now have so much. And even still, it is going to grow!”

We are proud of you, too, Hellen! On this Mother’s Day we salute you and all the Hellens of the world staring down extreme poverty for themselves and their entire community.

If you believe that women like Hellen deserve access to markets, credit, opportunities, and more, share this post and support our efforts today.

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