When war forced Antoinette Furaha to flee her homeland of the DRC for the Kyangwali Refugee Settlement in western Uganda, every day became a struggle to survive. Life in the settlement was particularly hard for children like Antoinette, who could no longer go to school.
Seeking a way out of her circumstances, Antoinette invested $1 in capital to start a sugar cane vending business. By the end of the month, she found she had saved $10 for herself, which she used to expand her trade to other produce such as maize. Within a year, she had saved $170! She invited her friends to join her venture, and they added gardening and livestock to their efforts. Soon, she and her friends were able to return to school, and Antoinette had turned a group of struggling young girls into a group of confident, independent, and motivated students.
This success convinced Antoinette that small injections of capital can change the lives of people with very low income. A visitor to the refugee camp was so inspired by Antoinette’s initiatives that she provided some seed capital for a micro-credit facility for the community. Antoinette and her group of young women invested the funds into profitable ideas, and they have now put more than 40 orphans into school, with access to basic needs including uniforms and textbooks.