Agnes Wasswa, 44, has eight children and lives in Buguluube village, Uganda.

Agnes is part of the Zabuliwo Women’s Group, which received an income generating loan from Just a Drop.  

Income generating loans provide a means for people to invest in their own existing trade or small business or create new business ventures, to generate income and improve their lives.

Just a Drop also worked with Agnes' village to provide safe water, sanitation and hygiene training.

In 2011, Agnes’ husband died, and she was left with eight children to care for on her own. Prior to her husband’s death Agnes had been a housewife, spending her time caring for her large family. Without any paid job skills, Agnes had to take on menial work to provide for her children, moving from house to house in the village in search of any job she could do.

‘‘When my husband died, because I didn’t have any job, and I didn’t have any skill to guarantee me to get a paid job, life was meaningless. When I thought of the future life of my children, I was even more miserable.’’

Agnes decided to start washing clothes for other households, and managed to earn around UGX 3,000 (75p) each day. She would return home from this arduous work with very little money to provide for her family, and would be exhausted, yet still had to care for her eight children. Agnes carried on this work for 3 years, from 2011-2013. She managed to save just UGX 2,000 a week. Life became even more difficult for her as her children grew up, and she struggled to pay their school fees.

In 2014 Agnes decided to join the village community group, Zabuliwo Women’s Group.

As part of Just a Drop's project in Buguluube village, an income generating loan totalling UGX 4,500,000 (approx. £1,000) was arranged for the Zabilo Women’s Group. As part of the conditions of the loan the women received training on micro-project management, record keeping, basic bookkeeping and micro-credit management.

My life changed when I joined Zabuliwo Women’s group. Our group received a large loan from Just a Drop, and I applied for a loan from this of UGX 350,000. I had learnt how to braid hair from a friend so I decided to invest this loan and rent a small room, which I turned into a salon.

Agnes continued: ''The first three months of my business were not good, but luck came in December when people began preparing for Christmas. In the Christmas season alone, I made a net profit of UGX 400,000 and this marked the beginning of change in my life and my family’s. I was able to pay off my loan in four months.

I now spend most of my time in my salon. I have made a name for myself in the salon business and I get many customers. I can now save UGX 20,000 a week: 10 times what I saved each week before I joined the group.

I have also started a poultry project at my home. I rear 250 chickens, which my children look after whilst I am at the salon.''

In June 2016 Agnes received another loan of UGX 1,000,000, which she invested in both of her projects.

My salon business has now grown bigger, and I have had to rent a bigger room. I now employ a helper and my earnings from the saloon have increased. I now earn UGX 80,000 week, and can pay my children’s school fees promptly. My eldest son is now in college, as I can afford his tuition fees. The health and nutrition of our family has improved as my children can eat either meat or fish once a week. Life has really changed.