Running a business and tending to two daughters – Hope, 18 months, and Peace, 10 – can be a challenge for anyone. Even more inspiring, Lofisa refuses to let her disability get in the way. When she was just a toddler, Lofisa’s mother took her to receive a polio vaccine. What Lofisa received instead was a bad vaccine; she was soon after diagnosed with the crippling disease.
“I have very weak joints,” claims Lofisa. “Sometimes I fall when I’m just standing.”
But with the support of her children and husband, Lofisa’s condition is getting better.
“I used to walk with sticks and now I do not!” she says.
THE DIFFERENCE OF A YEAR
It’s been said before and it should be said again, Lofisa sure looks happy. When speaking to Lofisa about how her life has been altered since being in the 1000 Shillings program, Grace, a program coordinator at Child of Hope, couldn’t help but interject.
“It is so obvious, even to us!” says Grace. “Her demeanor, the way she looks, the way she carries herself—Lofisa is a smiling machine!”
Grace observes that the clothes Lofisa wears represent an adjustment in her standard of living. From a single-mother of one, struggling to eat just one meal a day, to a married-mother of two, providing more than enough for her entire family – Lofisa’s life has seen measurable attainment within the past year.
“BEFORE, I HAD NO SEWING MACHINE, NO CUSTOMERS, NO CAPITAL,” STRESSES LOFISA. “I NEEDED A LOT OF HELP. “NOW, I SMILE BECAUSE I HAVE ALL OF THESE THINGS.”
Abandoned by not only her father at two-weeks-old, but also her first husband after just one year of marriage, Lofisa is determined to never rely on a man. Although she has been married to her second husband, Wawomba, for three years, Lofisa takes pride in her ability to generate enough income for the entire family. Since starting her business, Lofisa has become the dominant breadwinner in her family.
“Wawomba is a good man,” brags Lofisa. “He helps me with the laundry, brings home food from his farming job, and supports my tailoring business. He is very proud of me!”
With an average of 5.97 children per woman, Uganda has the fourth highest fertility rate in the world. However, Lofisa is determined to keep herself far below the medium with a personal figure of two children. Although it’s a rare attitude to have, Lofisa and her husband, Wawomba, are steadfast in their approach.
“Two children are enough for us,” says Lofisa, which is why she has been seeking the assistance of family planning specialists in Namatala to provide her with birth control.
“When there are just two children, posho and charcoal are much easier to buy,” explains Lofisa. “But when there are many, we cannot manage.” This may seem an obvious solution for many in the Western world, but tradition says different in Uganda.
“In Uganda, sometimes women say that more children will ensure they are provided for in the future,” says Lofisa.
Although she knows that she’s the odd-woman out, Lofisa’s sensible outlook on family planning is resolute.