“When you empower a woman, you build a nation.”
The first thing you notice when you walk into Justine’s hair salon is the overwhelming sense of pride that swells in the room. Her supplies are clean and organized on the shelves. There are various examples of braids and plaits lining the walls where clients can pick their favorites. The floor is swept clean and the corner where her two children play quietly is stocked with simple toys. Walking in, you can’t help but notice the huge smile on Justine’s face. She has built this place. She is empowered. And she is proud. “Because of my business, I have been able to meet my family’s needs. Two of my children are in school and I am able to give them a good life now,” she tells Juliet, the Income Generating Director at Abide who oversees her case. I sit in the back of the room, jotting down notes as Juliet translates. I pause for a second to take in my surroundings, amazed at what is before me. Here is a woman who has gone through trials and hardships, who has risen above them to become a successful businesswoman and incredible mom, and who manages both with grace. She has a well stocked business in a busy area of town. I watch her laughing with her children, and I am in awe of her.
When Justine first came to Abide, her story was very different. She was struggling to provide for her four children, none of whom were in school. She was another victim of a society that does not value men staying with their children or husbands staying with their wives, resulting in her being the sole provider, caretaker, parent, and income source for her family. She came to Abide with her children and was offered hope for a future. She attended six weeks of business and parenting classes, after which she was given a grant to start a small business with. What makes Justine unique, however, is that she chose to do something unprecedented. She spent her grant getting cosmetology training, learning from a woman who allowed her to work at the same time, earning money for her family while getting training for the future. After her training was done, she got a small loan from Abide, which she used to open her own salon, investing the profits back into the business until it grew to where it is today.
Justine is just one example of what happens when you empower women to reach their full potential. The women of Uganda are brilliant. They are talented, fierce, and determined. They love their children. They want the best for their families, and they do not give up. We get to see these things every day as we work to empower and invest in women, and we know it’s worth it, for one day these women will be leaders. When you reveal to someone their worth in Christ, they begin to believe it for themselves. They take ownership of their destiny, and they change the future of generations to come.
Justine usually has about seven clients a week coming through the bright blue structure that houses her salon. She specializes in braids and twists, but is hoping to expand into bridal styling soon. She has recently started training another woman, empowering this woman to help her family as well as earning extra income for Justine. She placed her business in a great location right off a main road, and she advertises nearby where she hopes to open a second location soon. She is a true businesswoman, and her determination is inspiring. She is currently working to pay off her loan from Abide with the profits she is earning.
This is what redemption looks like.
ALL THINGS SOCIAL
GET IN TOUCH