Being the sole caregiver to loved ones is never easy, but 36-year-old Justine Nakalega is a vivacious woman, tackling the challenge with grace. When her husband died a few years ago, he left her to raise their five children alone. When he was very sick and it was clear that he would not make it through his illness, he confessed that he had HIV and had contracted it 13 years prior. Justine was understandably devastated. But she sought counseling and shifted her focus to the children.
Justine was born in Nakigalala to a polygamous family with 20 children and limited resources. School was not possible for her beyond Primary Four, when she was forced to drop out and help on the family farm to feed the family. Now, carrying the lone responsibility of caring for her children, she leaned into farming, selling any extra produce she could in the market.
After training with Street Business School, Justine realized that she could be earning much more. She could increase her market offerings by purchasing additional produce like jackfruit and avocado, and reselling it for a profit, in addition to the produce she grew herself.
Today, Justine’s road-side vegetable stall is growing gradually and steadily. Her friendly personality and the fact that she endeavors to speak a second language attracts many passers-by. “Am not shy to speak the little English I know, in order to communicate with customers that don’t understand the Luganda language,” said Justine.
One of the most valuable lessons that Justine learned from the Street Business School training is how to save her profits and reinvest into her business. “Before I joined the training, I didn’t know how important it is to save,” said Justine, who now saves an average of $125 a month from her vegetable stall. When she has saved enough, she hopes to buy a plot of land to expand her garden and to building a home.