b'more young girls will follow their example andbrothers were younger than me, but it [Heifer] go into business. has been a big part of my life, she said. Her five-From renting a room to live in when she firstyear plan is to buy more land and bulls, and add moved back, she has since become a landlady,dairy cows.andrealizing the potential of livestockThough she now has two children of her ownership started trading cattle. Through anown, she still helps her mother pay the fees of agreement with a local bank, facilitated by Heifer,those of her siblings who are still attending she borrowed 4 million Ugandan shillings, aboutschool. $1,085, and used the balance to buy bulls, whichEric, the 24-year-old cattle trader, discussed she fattened and sold, paying her loan back withhis social obligations of a different kind, having the proceeds.built his own enterprise while he and his Then, she borrowed more money and boughtbrothers determine how to divide their fathers 10 calves, selling them. She also borrowedandfarm. This progress has helped [my family] paid backmoney to construct a row of threebecause at home, I am responsible for shop fronts and two living quarters, whicheverything, he said. Its me they look to for generate rent.whatever they need.If I hadnt gone into the groups, I wouldWhen his elder brother married in January never have succeeded. But right nowI am fine.2022, Eric paid for a generator, for lighting the I have my business I am proud of. I have houses. party at night, and the cost of hiring a sound At 30, Monica is, in short, a cattle trader,system. When his younger brother applied for a Heifer-supported youth development groupslandlady, shop owner and landowner. (You havepassport and visa to move abroad for work, Eric are an opportunity for young people to savethe bull fattening business, your rentals, thegave him 2 million Ugandan shillings, about money, participate in training, develop life skills and learn from one another.shop, anything else? asked the person who$540, toward that. interviewed her in Uganda for this article. PlusHis savings are such, though, that hisLEFTMonica and her the plot of land I bought, the two acres, sheambitions, to continue growing his capitalyounger sister sit Nonetheless, capturing their interest and enthusiasm,replied.) I grew up without a father and myalongside his cattle business, with backing fromoutside her shop. Benon said, took patience and persistence. Low turnoutHeifer and the youth group, are still on track: IMonica pays for her siblings and poor time management were frustrations. In the end,started with 1 million [Ugandan shillings] andschooling with his role conferred on him a degree of status and, with thenow I have 3 million at my disposal. In threethe profits from salary he made, he bought 21 cows. In the next threeThey started empoweringyears, I should have 10 million as capital. That isher businesses.RIGHTyears, he wants to marry, build a house and travel abroad.us to save and lending uswhat I am striving for. Eric and Monica Heifer gave me a start, money and fame. They gave usThey taught us how to save and how totransport the safe milking cans, soft skills, risk management andmoney, and we built. spend money and the standard that is required,containing the diversification lessons and so much more. Heifer blessedhe said. I kept all that information at heart.n groups savings to their weekly us so much.MONICA KABAGIRE meeting site. Monica comes from a large family; her mother has eight children, of whom Monica is the eldest. After leaving high school in 2012, she moved south to Kampala, the Ugandan capital, where her network of school friends helped her find a job in a supermarket. From there, she moved to northern Uganda, where she sold cellphones and mobile money. She returned to Kapeke with 1.5 million Ugandan shillings, about $400, in savings, and opened a small shop selling sodas, salt, sugar and teamuch as her mother, whod run a shop and farmed, had done before her. She arrived home just at the point, in 2017, when theCombined with financial youth development groups began. I really benefited fromliteracy training, group-them, she said. Out of the 30 members of her group, 20powered savings and loans enable youth to establish were young women. They started empowering us tofinancial independence.save and lending us money, and we built. She hopes 22| SUMMER 2023 HEIFER.ORG |23'