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Wenzetu’s empowering journey with Opportunity

By Wenzetu - one of the many groups we support with financial training and access to financial products in the Nakivale Refugee Settlement in Uganda. In their own words, they share how working with us has benefited them and their members.

Wenzetu was established in 2019 with the vision of uplifting the lives of children with disabilities and their families. We recognised the need for betterment and support within the community, focusing on economic empowerment and holistic wellbeing. As such, we offer rehabilitation service for children with disabilities, empowering them to lead fulfilling lives and overcome challenges.

As a group, we run a variety of livelihood activities. Wenzetu’s artisans create a wide range of beautiful and intricate items (such as jewellery, shoes, tablemats, bags, etc.) using banana fibres and other locally sources material. Each creation reflects the immense dedication and craftsmanship of the group members.

The group also focuses on agriculture. Through our innovative farming techniques, families cultivate a range of nutritious vegetables, ensuring better nutrition for their children and improving overall wellbeing. We also engage in large-scale poultry farming, enabling families to benefit from a sustainable income source.

We have also established a Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) to promote financial inclusion and to empower members to save, access credit and build economic resilience.

Opportunity International and Opportunity Bank Uganda Ltd. (OBUL) have been wonderful partners to Wenzetu, providing crucial assistance in several areas.

The collaboration has yielded remarkable results and transformative changes as follows:

  • Financial literacy training –comprehensive training sessions were given, equipping Wenzetu members with essential knowledge and skills to manage their finances effectively.

  • Financial inclusion services – through our partnership with OBUL, Wenzetu has gained access to formal financial services, enabling us to open savings accounts and participate in economic activities with confidence.

  • Market access –Through our partners, Wenzetu  has been connected with potential markets for our craft products. In March 2023, Opportunity International UK purchased around 70 craft pieces for an event at Windsor castle, where HRH, Princess Anne was present. This event brought significant attention to our crafts and created new opportunities for market expansion.

Members of Wenzetu receiving Financial Literacy Training(Members of Wenzetu receiving Financial Literacy taining)

The collaboration with Opportunity International and OBUL has had a profound impact on Wenzetu and our members. The group has witnessed impressive growth and positive changes. The group started with just seven parents four years ago, but has now grown to include approximately 200 members - a testament to the trust and impact we have fostered within the community. We have also embraced various income-generating activities. We currently have 40 women and 23 young people engaged in craft production, while 30 families focus on large-scale poultry farming. Additionally, 100 families practice renovated farming, cultivating a variety of vegetables.

Wenzetu still faces challenges, like limited resources for empowering women. Looking ahead, we aspire to continue expanding our membership, reaching more families in need of support. We would also like to secure resources, like weaving machines, to enhance craft production efficiency. Wenzetu remains committed to integrating health and livelihood initiatives ensuring comprehensive wellbeing for our members.

The collaboration between Wenzetu and Opportunity Bank stands as a powerful example of how financial institutions can empower and transform the lives of vulnerable communities. Through financial literacy training, access to formal financial services, market opportunities, and the remarkable encounter with Princess Anne, Wenzetu has made significant strides toward economic empowerment and holistic wellbeing. It was an incredible honour to meet Princess Anne – it filled us with a sense of pride, validation and recognition for our craftsmanship and dedication. With hopes set on a brighter future, Wenzetu remains grateful for the ongoing support and dedication of Opportunity Bank Uganda and Opportunity International UK in driving positive change within Nakivale Refugee Settlement.

          Member of Wenzetu weaving     Members of Wenzetu weaving

One of our members stated: “I have faced numerous hardships as a mother of a child living with a disability, but through Wenzetu'’s dedication and the support of Opportunity International, I have found strength and resilience. The craft we create is not just a means of income but a reflection of our unwavering dedication. We are incredibly grateful to Opportunity for believing in us and providing the tools and opportunities to succeed.”

In October 2022, Wenzetu took part in the midline evaluation using participatory videos in partnership with InsightShare – an expert in using media tools to give people a voice in participating with community projects. Below is the story captured from Immaculate, one of our members.

If you would like to support growing refugee programme –please DONATE HERE.  £50 will provide four refugees like Immaculate with the financial literacy training they need to build sustainable business.   That’s just £12.50 refugee!

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