When we first met Mary in 2013, she explained that she knew her life could be better, and she was determined to make it so. In just the past year, Mary has achieved just that. A bashful mother of 7, this 44-year-old woman has become a successful entrepreneur and business owner.

In the span of a year, Mary is now bringing in an income of up to $85 U.S. dollars a month by selling cassava root to distributors. Mary’s cassava root is grown in her hometown village located in the Ngora District, where Mary claims some of the best quality cassava comes from. When the root is ready for pick-up, her son, who lives in the village, gives her the green light. Mary then brings the immense amount of cassava to the industrial area in Mbale.  This is where loyal customers buy her product in bulk before it’s ground into flour and sold in small-scale markets.

In addition to her flourishing cassava business, Mary was able to save up enough money to buy a cow for 300,000 shillings ($120 U.S. dollars), which provides milk for her and her family.

“1000 Shillings assisted me a lot,” Mary says with a gracious smile.



Mary likes running, and not just running around for fun. Mary, it turns out, used to be quite the athlete. The 100-meter dash, long-jump, high-jump, netball – she more than exceled at them all.Mary started to compete in track events while in primary school, at the age of eight.  She was one of only a handful of students from her school chosen to represent Soroti, her district.

“I won a lot, it was a happy time,” Mary recalls with a warm grin. “My whole family would come to watch me compete.”

These days, Mary is able to find a familiar joy in watching her children play sports. Justine, 16, plays futbol in a neighboring town called Doco, and Merab, 10, competes on Child of Hope’s netball team. On a weekly basis, Mary can be found amongst the crowd of spectators at the Mbale Stadium, admiring the track and field events. Mary gets joy in supporting her children – the same way her parents supported her. 


“Since beginning with 1000 Shillings, I have been able to afford school fees, rent, food and even decent clothes for my family,” boasts Mary.

 Moreover, Mary takes great pride in being able to offer financial support to extended family living in her home village, located in the Ngora District.

“My children are proud,” comments Mary. “They see me working hard to provide them with a good life. Now they do chores and even fetch water to show me they appreciate me.”