Nancy grew up in a small mud hut with her single mum and nine siblings. Despite a challenging start to life, she is now building a better future thanks to the training she received at Kira Farm Development Centre.

Nancy’s family situation worsened when war broke out and they were forced to move to a camp for displaced people. Conditions were terrible in the camp and food was scarce. Girls slept with men in exchange for something to eat and rape was commonplace. Tragically, after a short time in the camp, three of Nancy’s sisters contracted HIV.

Making ends meet

When the war finished life was still a struggle for Nancy and her family. Her father had passed away years earlier which meant her older brothers had no one to defend their right to the clan land - of which their father once owned a huge share. As a result they ended up with only two acres of land - not enough for a large family to live off.

Despite growing crops such as potatoes, cassava, groundnuts, millet, sorghum, beans, rice and maize, little was left over to sell to buy home essentials such as soap and kerosene. The lack of money meant that most of Nancy’s siblings were unable to go to school. By the time Nancy heard about Kira Farm Development Centre she had no options in life except to look for a husband.

Gratitude and self-esteem

Nancy is so grateful for the time she spent on Kira. ‘I walked into Kira thinking I was the most disadvantaged person in the world as I had lost my father and experienced so much hardship. After hearing what the other trainees had been through, I no longer felt self-pity,’ Nancy explains. ‘I started thanking God for the little I had. This helped me to focus on who I wanted to be in the future.’

The mentoring and emotional support Nancy received boosted her self-esteem and helped her realise she had options in life other than marriage. ‘I realised I was special,’ she smiles. ‘And that marriage should be something I want to do, not just an escape route.’

Nancy particularly enjoyed the business training she received at Kira. ‘It was like the icing on the cake! Our group made a profit of £7 in just two weeks and it fired me up. I felt so excited and ready for life at home.’

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Saving for a brighter future

On her return home, Nancy replicated the doughnut and chapatti-making business she had started on Kira Farm, despite being mocked by local youths. Their mockery fell on deaf ears as Nancy made an impressive £9 in two weeks. ‘I used the money to buy some hair extensions and start up a hairdressing business – I’d learnt on Kira that if you just start with one business you can rapidly build up to more,’ Nancy explains. ‘Funnily enough I ended up employing the two girls who had mocked me! By the end of two months I had made £45 – more than I’d ever earned in my entire life.’

Hairdressing and helping family

A friend told Nancy about the booming business opportunities in the new district of Amoro. ‘Thanks to the confidence I gained on Kira I moved to this new place and opened a hairdressing salon,’ explains the enterprising young woman. The first months were not easy, but through practising the good business principles she’d learnt at Kira, such as time-keeping, minimum wastage and high standards, Nancy’s business began to thrive at a rapid rate.

Today Nancy is employing two young people, training them in hairdressing and making good savings. ‘Thanks to my good income I’m happy I can provide household essentials for my mother,’ she smiles.  ‘I have also been able to put my siblings, who are living with HIV, on a special diet. This has greatly improved their health.’

Nancy plans to start a business for her sisters as soon as their health is fully restored. She has already passed on some of the business skills she learned at Kira and her sisters are running the doughnut and chapatti business back home.

‘Thank you Amigos for helping me to develop into a hardworking woman. When people meet me they are shocked by all that I have achieved, on my own, at such a young age!’