Breaking Barriers: Akello Welsy Olara

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Akello Welsy Olara entered our program early last year as a result of a new partnership with Nordstrom. She came in with a lot of the scars of poverty that most Ugandan's have grown accustomed to bearing. She was forced to drop out of school without her high school diploma because her family could no longer afford to support her. She needed to bring an income to her family of eleven so she started working at a small store selling sugar, soap, cooking oil and kerosene to her neighbors. Putting food on the table was a big enough struggle, let alone finding the money to send six children to school. Welsy's story is one you hear often in Gulu. What most people don't get to see is that Welsy did not define herself by these lack of means. Even in her poverty Welsy was determined to do everything she could to pull her family out of poverty. Before joining KKI she and her husband attempted to start a pig rearing business that would sell matured pigs to butchers at a profit. Despite their efforts the family was forced to abort the business because they lacked the consistent income to support it through months that didn't turn profits. She was down, but definitely not out. Upon entering the Krochet Program, Welsy began to save like crazy (see chart below). Over the last year she saved 1/3 of her income and reinvested it into her dream, this time with a very different results. Last month Welsy's pig rearing business earned 150% of her normal wage at Krochet Kids Uganda. Her combined income was 3.2 times that of the Ugandan poverty line. Within a few more years, she surely will have an income outside of KKi that will put food on the table, educate her children and provide healthcare for her family. Most importantly, it will be completely sustainable on the local and regional levels. This transformation speaks to the true mission of KKi. It's proof that they take the reigns of development when we come along side Ugandan women and provide them with things as simple as jobs and education. Welsy's story is just one example of the change that is unfolding in our compound in Gulu. It's evidence of our creed... Buy a hat. Change a life. Thanks for making this all happen! -Adam
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