This post was written by Heather Risley, the Knowledge Management and Learning Advisor in USAID’s Office of Education, and originally appeared on Medium.
This is the story of Annette, a 27-year-old woman from the rural community of Nyantonzi, Uganda, who is working to beat the odds.
Annette’s father was a doctor and left her family when she was two years old. She had eight brothers and sisters, and there was a lot of pressure on her mother to care for that many children alone. The pressure drove her mother to drink.
Annette didn’t have enough money to pay school fees to continue her education, so she asked her father for help. He refused. Eventually, Annette’s mother left, and the children were orphaned. Not knowing what was next, Annette married very young and had two kids of her own. Her husband was very abusive and drank a lot. She divorced him and then married another man who, unfortunately, presented similar problems.
“There [are] a lot of challenges I am facing being a woman in Nyantonzi. I work very hard and my husband leaves and drinks and plays games, and I am the one left to work in the fields, cook, clean, and sustain the family,” she explains.
A local, female youth-led organization called Safeplan Uganda is helping Annette begin a turnaround — with honey bees.
Annette is raising bees and harvesting honey, which sells well in the local market. In addition to bringing in more money than other local products, the business is eco-friendly and doesn’t require a lot of physical time or effort — once the initial set up is done. Also, the women don’t need to own or rent a lot of land in order for bees to pollinate.
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