Drawing a New Path in Life: Jalia’s story

Speeches Shim

Tuesday, June 16, 2020
Jalia and her goats

In 2009, Jalia Tumuheirwe left her parent’s home in Kyenjojo District in Western Uganda. She wanted a new life, a new home, and a family of her own. She settled in Damasko village in Kamwenge, where she lives with her husband and their four children. 

They built their home on a quarter acre of land where they had to grow crops for their survival. It was barely enough land for their activities. Jalia resorted to working on people’s farms for food and when the burden got heavier, she sold their only two goats so that they would have some money to buy food. When scarcity stretched for several years, Jalia’s hopes for a better life dimmed. 

In 2019, Jalia met Sharon Namugumya, a coach working with the USAID-funded Graduating to Resilience Activity, implemented by the AVSI Foundation. Sharon helped her discover new opportunities and set goals to draw a new path. Coaching is a key component in the program, which works in refugee and host communities to graduate extremely poor households from conditions of food insecurity and fragile livelihoods to self-reliance and resilience. 

Jalia enrolled and began actively participating in the program. She received training in modern agricultural practices, monthly cash support to buy food for her family, and an additional amount to help her start a business of her choice. It was time for her to work hard for a better future for her family. The trainings helped her to set goals, which she began to realize when she bought five goats to start a goat-rearing enterprise. 

Jalia’s goats have since multiplied to 14. She is optimistic that the business will sustain their livelihood. They now have three healthy meals every day. 
In the last school term, she sold one goat to pay school fees for their children and used the balance to build a proper shed for her animals.

“I want to have many goats so that I can have enough money for my children’s school fees, build a new house, and save some in my savings group.” 

Jalia loves looking after her goats as her husband Ismail makes extra money from his own motorcycle business. On some days, they work together in their garden so that they can have surplus food for their home. 

This season, Jalia rented a quarter acre of land to plant maize and beans to boost her food availability this season. The couple is drawing a new path to a better livelihood. 

Jalia and Ismail’s family is among the 6,387 households participating in the Graduating to Resilience program and no longer worry for lack of food or other necessities – they have experienced real change in their family. 

“I no longer lack sleep for lack of food. It is a great feeling to see my children go to school.”