"I kept saving and realized that I had enough money to access a loan of Ugx 400,000 from my Mungano Savings Group, which I used to construct a better house,” narrates Passi.
The jolly and loving mother of eight sets out to buy merchandise for her newly started business. It is market day in Rwamwanja and she has to meet her friend and supplier of the silver fish that she sells back at home in Kyempango Zone within the refugee settlement.
Passi Nyanzobe sought refuge in Uganda after the massive killings and instability caused by a rebel group in Congo in 2017. “It was hard starting a new life here in the refugee settlement, with no source of income, not even water or a piece of soap.” In Congo, Passi and her husband Kibuyi Kimaga ensured the wellbeing of their family primarily through Kibuyi’s job as a security guard at a hospital in Goma. At the time of the killings, Passi was at home with the children and quickly fled to safety. She never saw the father of her children again.
Once in Uganda, the assistance they received from WFP could not sustain the family – they survived on one meal a day. In 2018, when AVSI selected 6,600 participants from the refugee and host community, Passi’s household was among those selected for participation in Graduating to Resilience. She now receives a monthly cash amount to help them have nutritious meals and has also received a one-off cash amount for her to start her own business. Passi is committed to her business selling salted fish which she buys 15 kilometers away from the refugee settlement. The fish, a delicacy in the area, runs out of stock within the week. Today, Passi is in business; she keeps her weekly savings in her savings group of 25 people, all refugees.
I am so happy that I have the money for business; now I can go to the market and buy the same species of fish and sell just as I used to do in Congo.
From one meal a day to three meals, a small hut to a better house, no income source to starting a business; Passi now believes that their life will get even better.
“I am getting back to my business ways. I used to sell fish and cassava flour back in Congo. I know that it is a profitable business and I will have the means to cater for my children.” Passi has added avocado, yams, and cassava flour to her stock which she sells at a profit at her home or at times in the nearby market.