A BEAUTIFUL DRESS

Susan showcases her incredible sewing skills by wearing her beautiful creations on a daily basis. Every day at the 1000 Shillings business classes, she comes in one of her specially made dresses. Sometimes she sports a fun, short-sleeved dress made of lavender fabric while other days, Susan can be found in a purple, black and white floral number or a ruffled sunshine yellow combination. Susan’s business booms from October to December when Namatala and Namakwekwe residents commission her to make holiday outfits for the Christmas season. Because Ugandans always dress their best, even on a normal day out to the market, women often wear their Christmas dresses all year long. Occasionally, Susan will explain that she made her current outfit for the past Christmas.

In the past year since joining 1000 Shillings, Susan expanded her sewing business to include training novice tailors. She rents a second sewing machine that she stations outside her home specifically for teaching others.

In October 2013, Susan also opened her own shop adjacent to her home in Namakwekwe. Because her tailoring business primarily brings in a seasonal profit, the shop helps support her family for the rest of the year. She carries diapers, cassava cookies, spice packets and a small amount of vegetables.

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TAXI

Susan’s husband is supportive of her business, but also aims to support for the family. He works hard as a bicycle taxi driver. Daily he transports passengers on a bike plastered in bumper stickers with phrases like “God is Able” and “God is the Light of My Life.” He hopes to trade in his signature bike for a boda boda taxi, or motorcycle, so that he can bring in higher profits and improve his family’s chance of moving neighborhoods.

(L) Boda boda motorcycle taxis. (R) Susan's husband on his bicycle taxi in Namatala. 

(L) Boda boda motorcycle taxis. (R) Susan's husband on his bicycle taxi in Namatala. 

SCHOOL FEES: PAID

Susan’s ability to start her own businesses completely changed her family’s life. As the mother to not only her own four children, but also two of her late sister’s children, Susan and her husband Sam have many mouths to feed, house and educate. Since Susan expanded her tailoring services and opened her own shop, providing each of those three things has become considerably easier.

“When I joined this program I was able to start up my own shop, whereby out of that shop I will be able to pay fees for…my sister’s [children] and also some of my own children,” Susan says.

All of her children except Jovia, an eager one and a half years old, attend school. While they all were receiving education prior to Susan’s induction into the 1000 Shillings program in 2013, now Susan is able to pay the school fees with more ease. She no longer gives what she can daily, but instead pays the full amount for each term on time.

Susan with her family in Namatala. 

Susan with her family in Namatala. 

“My life has changed out of this project,” Susan said. “I can be able to eat thrice in a day, three meals in a day, that’s breakfast, lunch, and supper. But I never used to do it before.”

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