Stories: Finding Joy

Ssane has lived in her community for 25 years. It’s where she accepted Christ and has raised her ten children. She has experienced much loss in this community but remains hopeful, in part, thanks to a micro-savings group she joined, supported by Bright Hope.

To support her family, Ssane used to borrow money from the bank, buy rice, and then re-sell it at a higher price. Then, from the profit, she would repay the bank and use whatever was left to support her family. Now she is able to do this through her savings group, with some additional support. Her husband has worked for many years as a farmer but struggles to find work in the off-season.

“Some of the kids, I can’t even afford to pay for school,” she says. “Even feeding them is difficult. The fact that there are so many kids, sometimes I’m not able to provide for everyone and we just have to live the way God can help us …”

“…sometimes I’m not able to provide for everyone and we just have to live the way God can help us …”

Without two steady incomes, her family often faces challenges to clothe, feed and educate their nine children who still are living at home. Being a part of the savings program is slowly helping her to increase her income. Ssane now facilitates her savings group which has grown to 20 women.

“I went throughout the community and invited these ladies one by one,” she said. “I would talk about the community and the problems that we have. I’d let them know that if we would work together, we’d be able to move further ahead.     Everyone agreed, all 20 of them.”

“One of the things that we do is we try to recognize the weaker points in the community…like really bad trash problems,” she said. “We’ll come together, figure out where it is, and then we’ll go out and clean it up. We also talk about how, if one of our group members were to fall sick and have to actually go to the hospital, that we would put our money together and help pay for the hospital, but, by the grace of God, that hasn’t happened.”

The group saves money each month and keeps the money in a shared bank account for one year. At the end of each year, Bright Hope matches that amount and each member gets an equal portion. Last year, some of the women bought items such as charcoal, candies, cornmeal or rice to resell for a profit, though they hope to save more in the future.

“It couldn’t really do much because it wasn’t much money, but it helped out. We are still very happy and thankful for what has been given and what has been done so far,” said Ssane. “We’d like to pray to God that we would be able to receive a little bit more so we can advance even further.”

More than just helping her financially, Ssane feels encouraged and supported by the other group members knowing they are experiencing many of the same hardships.

“We feel as if we have joy within ourselves.”

“I’m part of a team… we all come together, we spend time together, we care about each other, and it takes away some of our sadness,” she said. “We feel as if we have joy within ourselves.”

Help Start a Business
Leslee Baron
Leslee Baron

My position at Bright Hope has expanded my worldview and passion to help those living in extreme poverty. Being able to use my gifts to help those living on less than $2/day is not just fulfilling, but also an honor and a privilege.