In Oyam, Uganda, 90% of the population depends on subsistence farming, barely growing enough food to eat. But Bright Hope’s Savings for Life program is transforming livelihoods in Oyam by helping farmers to grow more crops for income.

What is subsistence farming you ask?

It is a form of farming in which nearly all of the crops or livestock raised are used to maintain the farmer and the farmer’s family, leaving little, if any, surplus for sale or trade (https://www.britannica.com/topic/subsistence-farming).

Farmers use the money earned from the sales to meet the basic needs of their families. However, sometimes unfavorable seasons cause families to look for alternative ways to meet their needs.

Through the Savings for Life program, Bright Hope trains farmers in Oyam to save money, prepare for uncertainties, and to maintain enough food in their homes. Milton, a leader in a Bright Hope partner church in Oyam, explains how the Savings for Life program has the potential to transform lives in their community.

We had the opportunity to speak with Milton: “Sometimes you can plant, but the sunshine is too much, so the seeds cannot germinate well. Saving helps in many ways. Even if you have a challenge with seeds, you will go to the group and tell them you need money for seeds, and they will [give you a loan]. You also have your savings. They [the savings group] know that you will pay because your money is there. But if you are not in a group, where you will get it?”

Savings for Life groups also help farmers practice accountability for personal finances.

“Actually, people who are not in groups are the ones who sell their soya and just branch off and start drinking because they do not have vision and anything to do with that money. But, if they are in a group, they can say, ‘I will plant Soya, sell it, save that money, and buy a cow,” Milton said.

As a church leader, Milton also works hard to be an example to the rest of the community. He says they can only emulate him when they see him practicing what he is preaching.

Milton shared, “. . . they teach us that, to be a man, you must safeguard your family from danger. Like, now people are buying cassava, but I have cassava in the garden. . . . So, I will buy soap, cooking oil, and those other little things. Because I cannot go and teach people to plant cassava when they see my wife in the market buying cassava. I should be exemplary.”

This is how Bright Hope’s Savings for Life program is gradually changing lives in Oyam, Uganda.

How can you help?

Make a difference for families like Milton’s by giving to Bright Hope today.

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