Meet Flavia: A Beacon of Hope, Changing Lives and Communities
Meet Flavia Josephine Namugga, a resilient 47-year-old mother of three, a devoted wife and an unwavering advocate for women’s empowerment. Her life story is one of perseverance, dedication and a tireless commitment to improving the lives of women in her community. After attending the Street Business School training, she not only launched a new life for herself and her family, but she shared her knowledge and passion to everyone in her path, creating a massive “spillover effect” throughout the community. Her story is clear evidence of the ripple effect of positivity and light possible with each SBS graduate.
A Humble Beginning
Flavia’s early life was shaped by the presence of her six siblings and the untimely loss of her father when she was just a child. Her mother’s relentless efforts to provide for the family left a profound impression on her, instilling the belief that women are capable of achieving anything.
“My mother is my greatest inspiration. I witnessed her unwavering determination to provide for our family, and it taught me that women can overcome any challenge,” Flavia proudly proclaimed.
Navigating Single Parenthood
Flavia lost her first husband in 2006, leaving her to navigate the difficult path of single parenthood. Her job required her to travel far from home, leaving her children in the care of neighbors. She soon noticed a change in her children’s behavior and grew concerned about the impact of her absence.
“I vividly remember returning home from work one day and finding my daughter in the company of troublesome friends, using impolite language. It made me worry about the kind of woman she might become,” Flavia recalled.
Recognizing the Struggles of Her Community
With unwavering determination, Flavia made a life-altering decision to resign from her job and work from home to be there for her children. She began producing avocado-based products and sewing baby clothes, but the family lived hand to mouth with no savings.
Flavia realized that many women in her community were facing similar struggles, grappling with poverty and, in many cases, domestic violence. This realization fueled her determination to uplift herself and those around her. Her dedication did not go unnoticed, as community leaders recognized her leadership potential and encouraged her to become a women’s representative, an elected position in the community. She ran and won, easily.
Empowering Women through Street Business School
Taking on this role, Flavia became actively involved in her community, ensuring that women did not miss any opportunities for self-improvement. “Every time I heard about an opportunity, I would rush to encourage the women to attend,” Flavia revealed.
Through her role as a community leader, Flavia mobilized women to join the Street Business School entrepreneurship training, which she herself had previously attended. Equipped with the skills acquired through the program, Flavia embarked on a journey to make a difference.
With the knowledge she gained from Street Business School, Flavia opened a retail shop where she sells soft drinks, avocado products, nutritional juices and snacks. She also founded a women’s group named ‘Women Are Crowns.’ In this group, Flavia imparts various skills, including book-making, liquid soap production and creating value-added products from organic seeds. This initiative has seen considerable success, including the establishment of a women’s savings group.
Flavia’s influence extends beyond her group, empowering and inspiring other women in her community to engage in income-generating activities. “I love to see women thrive,” Flavia passionately declared.
Helping Others Overcome Their Challenges
Empowering women comes with its challenges, as Flavia recalled one particular woman who initially resisted her coaching. However, when this woman’s husband was absent for days, leaving her family without food, she remembered the coaching that Flavia had given her and had a change of heart. She took a loan of $13.27 from a relative and started a vegetable stall.
“Women come to me several months later to thank me, saying that their lives have changed,” Flavia shared with a smile. “I want to see women who are financially independent,” Flavia passionately declared.
Even after her training with Street Business School ended, Flavia continued to share the knowledge she gained and further taught other women who did not have the chance to attend the program.
Stories of Transformation
Here are a few stories of women whose lives Flavia has impacted.
Fatuma Babirye Nabaggala
Fatuma heard about Flavia’s book-making class from others in the community and was excited to join. “Some women were worried about attending the class because they had low self-esteem due to their limited education. But Flavia encouraged us to be confident and reminded us that even if we did not have much education, we still had the right to a better life,” Fatuma said.
“Life is now better,” shared Fatuma. “Flavia believed in me, even when I did not believe in myself.”
Margret Nakirijja Mukasa
Margret and Flavia attended the SBS training together. Initially hesitant to join, Flavia’s encouragement helped Margret find the confidence to attend. “We were so happy that Flavia was in class with us, motivating us whenever we were starting to give up,” said Margret.
Margret believes that however hard a person works, if they do not have someone to encourage them and push them to keep going, even the strongest person can give up. But Flavia is that person who pushes and encourages them to work hard.
“Flavia has never stopped pushing women to aim for a better life,” Margret declared.
Marion met Flavia when she passed through the community mobilizing women to attend the SBS training. “I was at home when she came to my doorstep and told me that there was an entrepreneurship training program, and she advised me to join,” Marion recalled.
During the SBS training, Marion’s most interesting experience was when the SBS coaches taught the women that they are the capital. After the SBS training, Flavia returned to the communities to offer additional support and encouragement.
“She constantly reminded us of our worth. She told us that what we were doing at the moment might seem small, but if we put in the effort, it would become whatever we wanted it to be. Flavia gave us hope, tirelessly,” Marion shared.
Amina met Flavia just after she moved to Uganda from Kenya. Flavia recruited Amina to join one of several trainings she was offering in the community. Amina also met another woman who Flavia had impacted. “I recall the woman giving her testimony of how her life had changed ever since she met Flavia,” Amina narrated.
The way Flavia shares her knowledge has motivated Amina to be generous with her knowledge and share what she knows with other women, too.
“Due to Flavia’s motivation, I also started teaching other women how to make door mats and to make a living out of it,” Amina beamed. “My business is thriving because of Flavia’s encouragement.”
When Winfred met Flavia, she confessed that, “Flavia came at the right time for me when I needed encouragement.” Newly unemployed, Winfred had no income and no plan for the future. Now, Winfred makes books and also trains women in other communities at a fee. She is grateful to Flavia for being a supportive and encouraging woman. “My life has changed greatly ever since. I can now make my own money and am my own boss,” Winfred bragged.
“Flavia has always been our heroine and our eye in the community. She always tells us that if you do not weed your garden, do not expect yields,” Winfred shared.
Flavia has not only transformed her own life but also ignited change in the lives of many women in her community. She serves as a guiding light, encouraging women to overcome challenges, embrace self-sufficiency and pursue their dreams.
In the spirit of being a light among luminaries, Flavia’s journey exemplifies the transformative impact that women can have when they are given the tools and resources to rise above poverty.
To date, SBS has reached more than 64,000 women like Flavia. As we look to the future, we envision a world where all women have access to the tools, support and agency needed to rise from poverty. We request your support to reach more underserved communities and aspiring entrepreneurs. Your contribution, no matter the size, has the power to create a profound impact. It’s an opportunity to be part of something larger than us, to be the spark that ignites a chain reaction of positive change.
Visit streetbusinessschool.org/give today and, for a limited time, your contribution will be doubled, dollar for dollar, thanks to a private family foundation! Thank you for making this work possible!