by Esther Nyaga
Arnold Schwarzenegger says “ Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”
Elosy Karwitha Kiruja’s story is one of sheer strength and determination that finally bore fruits. Elosy is a twenty-five-year-old lady. She is married to Martin and together they are blessed with a son and they all reside in Kaare village in Maara Sub-County.
Elosy’s story is one that started with tears from an early age. Elosy’s biological mother abandoned her when she was one year and eight months old and she was left at the mercy of a cruel stepmother who brought her up. She became pregnant at the age of sixteen years and had to drop out of high school. Complications of childbirth left her hospitalized for more than three months. She recovered but had to stay there since she couldn’t afford to foot the heavy hospital bill she had accrued over the three months. With the help of well-wishers, she finally left the hospital and moved in with her in-laws.
The new family and environment were hostile and this, coupled with the hard economic times, left her in a state of despair. At this time, the family was solely dependent on the income she got from being a casual laborer. She got a monthly income of KES 6000 ($60 USD) which was hardly enough to meet the ever-growing financial obligations as their son was now enrolled in school.
It was around this time that she was trained and enrolled as a Community Health Volunteer where she used to receive a monthly stipend. The community health volunteers in her locality formed a Self-Help Group called Kaare Community Health Volunteers (Kaare CHVs) so as to benefit from the HopeCore Micro Lending Program.
In October 2019, her group together with other locals were selected to participate in a capacity-building program conducted by Village HopeCore in collaboration with Street Business School Uganda. During the training, they were trained on topics such as Getting out of your comfort zone, Business opportunity identification, Budgeting, Money Management and record-keeping among other topics.
Ramana Maharshi says that “your own self-Realization is the greatest service you can render the world.” For Elosy, this was a moment of awakening and she understood that she doesn’t need much to change her life. She yearned to start a peanuts resale business but she only had KES 1000 ($10 USD) . She reached out to a friend who lent her KES 500 ($5 USD). She went out and bought ten kilograms of peanuts, some cooking oil, and packing materials. She spent the night roasting the peanuts and packing them and the following morning she set off to sell them at a market that’s over twenty-five kilometers away on foot since she could not afford the transportation involved. Amidst the many challenges of the day, she managed to sell all the roasted peanuts and came home with an Income of KES 3800 ($38 USD). She paid off her borrowed funds and used the rest to buy more peanuts.
She currently sells up to 180 Kilograms of peanuts on a monthly basis and gets up to KES 14,000 ($140 USD) on a monthly basis in profit. She developed a strict weekly saving plan and she plans to use the savings to purchase a motorbike to facilitate in the transportation of the peanuts to her various suppliers in different towns. She is now able to meet her household needs comfortably, educate her child, and has started construction of a concrete toilet. We are so proud of the incredible milestones she has made and we are honored to have been part of this amazing journey which has just begun.