Meet Juliet Basilika: Innovative Thinking to Rise Above Challenges
In Kamuli district in rural Uganda, a group of women is breaking barriers, defying expectations, and paving the way for a brighter future. They are a members of Bulogo Women’s Group, an NGO dedicated to promoting and supporting education for women and girls in the region. Bulogo’s programs in entrepreneurship, agriculture & conservation, and water & sanitation are all designed in service of their mission of equipping women and girls with tools and information to access opportunities and become agents of change for themselves and their communities.
To achieve their mission, Bulogo partners with Street Business School (SBS) to share entrepreneurship and business management training. The SBS curriculum is designed specifically for women like those in the Bulogo community, many of whom have had no previous formal education. They may also feel business ownership is beyond their reach or may lack the self-confidence and support systems needed risk a new endeavour. SBS teaches not only hard business skills, but also includes coaching and confidence-building elements in the curriculum, to help graduates realize their potential.
Juliet Basilika is one such graduate. After graduating from SBS through Bulogo Women’s Group, she partnered with three other graduates to form Bakuseka Foundation, a business unique to her town.
The Birth of a Vision
Juliet and her three companions came from backgrounds in subsistence farming. The obvious choice for the women would be to sell their harvests in the market. But many others were already doing that, and Juliet felt something different might be more successful. With determination and a shared vision, the four women of Bakuseka Foundation pooled their resources, contributing $24 each. With a total of $96, they invested in cooking and serving equipment, enabling them to offer meal services at village ceremonies, including weddings. This bold step made them the pioneers of meal service providers in the village of Nawango.
Overcoming Challenges and Reaping the Rewards
The path to success was not without obstacles. The women of the Bakuseka Foundation faced skepticism and even disdain. Some members in the community did not believe that the women were capable of success with their new endeavor. However, Juliet and her colleagues persevered, their belief in themselves propelling them forward. After earning some funds from their meal services, they innovated further and began renting out their equipment to others. Soon they were earning income that exceeded their expectations!
A Flourishing Enterprise
Today, Bakuseka Foundation not only generates income for Juliet and the others, but it has become an income source for others in the community, as well. To meet the physical demands of their work, the group now employs several men to assist with heavy lifting. At the end of each day, the women earn an average of $5 each, representing their share of the profits. They reinvest most of these earnings back into their business, with hopes of purchasing server shirts and party chairs, adding value to their rental income.
Proving the Skeptics Wrong
Despite the challenges they faced, the women of the Bakuseka Foundation remained resolute in their pursuit of success. Although some in the community look down on their humble beginnings, the women of Bakuseka Foundation are unwavering. Wearing a beaming smile, Juliet shares that,
“You see, the name Bakuseka means ‘they laugh at us.’ But we are starting to prove them wrong.”
The Power of Education and Empowerment
Juliet and the Bakuseka Foundation’s journey is a testament to the transformative power of education and entrepreneurship. The women’s participation in the Street Business School program shifted their mindset and unleashed their potential. We’re inspired by Juliet for her achievements and innovation, and grateful to Bulogo Women’s Group for partnering with SBS to share our life-changing program with more women.
If you are inspired by the Bakuseka Foundation’s story and want to implement our curriculum in your organization, join our workshop! We have in-person workshop or virtual workshop options to fit your needs. Apply now!