A story from our partners at Kwagala Project in Uganda:
This year, Kwagala Project teamed up with Free the Girls, a Mozambique-based organization that provides survivors of human trafficking with a great way to make a living –selling secondhand bras.
Free the Girls asked us to conduct marketplace research and test their business model in Uganda. To say it has been working is an understatement. The creativity, initiative, and tenacity displayed by our ladies has blown us away.
Our very industrious and ambitious Sonia has established herself as a supplier to local shops. She’s selling out her entire bundle of bras without ever having to directly approach customers and she’s making quite a profit!
Before this opportunity, she was struggling to provide for her family. Because of her hard work and persistence, she has now cleared all her debts, paid rent in advance, and is able to provide two meals a day to all four members of her family!
Another woman, a young mother who requires approximately 10,000UGX ($4) a day to provide for her family, made over 200,000UGX ($140) in just under three weeks!
Though the income is noteworthy, what may be more valuable is the change in their perspectives – they continue to see options beyond daily survival. Not only are they able to save or send finances to family members in the village, they see themselves differently.
“I’m a businesswoman!” they state proudly. They have a desirable product, are experienced and confident in their bartering, and almost always seal the deal with a good profit in their pockets.
One more impressive thing has been displayed through this opportunity; a strong sense of family and desire to help one another. These ladies are quick to share a good marketing strategy or place of high demand. We’ve seen a more successful woman leave her work to go and help others who are struggling. And when one lady was sick and unable to work, two others decided to sell her bras for her and give her all the proceeds.
In so many ways, partnering with Free the Girls has been a very uplifting experience.
(reprinted with permission from Kwagala Project; click here to read original blog post dated Aug 2014)