MEET HADIJJAH: A WOMAN DETERMINED TO RISE
“There is no force equal to a woman determined to rise.” –W.E.B Dubois!
Coach Hadijjah Namuwaya is a determined mother of four. She grew up with her grandmother in Namagabi in the outskirts of Kayunga, but when she became pregnant during her last year of high school, her grandmother chased her from the home. By the age of 19, she was a mother and living with the father of her new baby. She pushed on, sought training to become a teacher, and by the age of 35, she was teaching nursery school in the village. She loved the work, but the income was very low, around $40 USD per month, or $1.30 per day. It was not enough to sustain her and her family. “There was a time in my life where I used to wear one dress for weeks. Some days we couldn’t even afford a single meal. I was hopeless and wondering what my purpose was in life,” Hadijjah shared.
In the summer of 2018, Hadijjah learned that Street Business School would be conducting a workshop teaching entrepreneurial education in her community. She was eager to enroll, drawn by the idea of running her own microbusiness. She was full of ideas and right away started several businesses to supplement her income, including selling snacks and providing financial services in her community with a mobile money stand. Still, she loved her role as teacher and did not want to give up her position at the community school. In addition to hard skills like how to appropriately price products and manage a budget, Hadijjah had learned important soft skills in the SBS training. She learned to pivot, innovate, and identify opportunities.
So Hadijjah got creative. She kept her job at the school and hired her sister to run the businesses during the hours when she was teaching. As we see so often, when one woman is empowered, she shares her resources and knowledge with others, creating a ripple effect in the community. Hadijjah shared her skills and knowledge learned through the SBS training with her sister to ensure great customer service, bookkeeping concepts, and best practices for growing the businesses.
Today, Hadijjah has more than quadrupled her income from $40 USD a month to $173 USD per month! With this income, she is now able to support herself and her family, and she is also rigorously saving to start her dream business of owning her own kindergarten.
One of the central components of the SBS training is to encourage women to believe in themselves and what they can accomplish. Hadijjah is proud of how far she has come and is grateful for the life she lives today. “I’m so grateful to Street Business School for believing in women like me and empowering us to not only be productive members of our families, but also our communities. There is nothing as encouraging as having people around you who believe in you and know you can make it,” Hadijjah says.
Hadijjah advises other women to work hard and not overlook opportunities. “I worry about women who are not able to have their own incomes. I wish every woman got an opportunity to attend Street Business School, so they could have the opportunity to learn and grow. SBS guided my mind, gave me wisdom. I have come to learn that I am my best resource and that has given me the confidence to do what I am doing today.”
Hadijjah Namuwaya attended SBS training in 2018 and participated in a randomized control trial (RCT) that ran for three years. SBS is committed to impact at scale, and invests in rigorous evaluation to ensure our programs are effectively supporting women to lift themselves from poverty. Learn more here.