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When women participate in the economy, everyone benefits

March 4th, 2021

Ten mouths to feed, eight children to educate, and a small scale subsistence farm that hardly yielded enough to survive. Esther from Napak district in Uganda had no source of income to support her family. The family lived from hand to mouth, putting Esther’s children at high risk of unsafe migration and trafficking. Until Terre des Hommes Netherlands intervened.

Esther demonstrates her groundnut grinding machine

The produce of Esther’s farm is irregular due to the arid climate in her home area. At best the family could afford one meal per day. Four of Esther’s children had dropped out of school due to lack of finances. Time to help Esther develop other sources of income, by building her entrepreneurial skills - as part of Terre des Hommes Netherlands approach to prevent unsafe migration and child trafficking.


Esther was trained in business skills development and management. Following this training, she joined one of the self-help groups that was formed, for saving and (re-)investing. Esther commenced selling mandazis (local doughnuts). From the start, she managed to save part of her profits. Gradually, she expanded her activities. Her next business entailed selling silver fish. This enabled her to open a third business. She bought a groundnut grinding machine and is now also a supplier of groundnut paste.

From nil to three

From barely surviving with subsistence farming to running three thriving businesses in just two years. The three businesses support three children in school*. The family has progressed from one to two meals per day. Esther proudly explains: “The trainings were mind openers for me to explore my potential and abilities in business.”

* Four children are currently in school-going age. Three of them are supported through Esther's income, the fourth child is supported through the Terre des Hommes Netherlands project.

Economic empowerment

“When women participate in the economy, everyone benefits,” Hillary Clinton (former United States First Lady and Presidential Candidate) once said. “If more women have the opportunity to participate fully in the economy, they, their families and their communities will prosper.” Esther plans to save more weekly in the group, expand her business even further and improve on the household status while keeping her children in school.

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