Joy at her shop in Bidibidi Refugee Settlement

A Refugees Story of Financial Empowerment and Healing

When the war broke out in South Sudan, Joy fled to Uganda due to the dehumanizing treatment of women in her homeland. Leaving behind the place she had called home throughout her entire childhood to become a refugee was a deeply painful experience, but she had limited options if she stayed. 

Upon arriving in Uganda, Joy formed a savings group, also known as a village savings group (VSLA). The named the chose was Lamorja because it means "financial empowerment and healing" which was fitting as the members were healing from the trauma they had endured in South Sudan. Joy shared that the group became an integral part of our self-rehabilitation and empowerment efforts, allowing many women to engage in productive work. The group ventured into agriculture, trade, and transport sectors to generate funds to support their families.

Joy and her friend smiling
Joy and her friend smiling at the shop


To expand their business, the group needed additional capital, which is when they approached VisionFund Uganda and obtained a loan of UGX 1,000,000/$270USD. From that loan,  Joy was able to get a loan of  UGX 500,000/ $135USD to start a shop. Joy used the capital and stocked items and sold them at a profit, enabling her to expand my shop in further. Joy stated that growing her business, she has been able to provide for her children and pay for their education.

Joy shares, "Lamorja VSLA has been instrumental in my entrepreneurial growth and resilience despite my challenging past. VisionFund's decision to lend money to refugees has transformed our lives, empowering us to move away from dependence on handouts and actively engage in productive activities, especially women." 

Joy said, "I am profoundly grateful for the sanctuary Uganda has provided me, relieving me of the traumatic days I endured in South Sudan. Here, I feel valued and given an opportunity to contribute to the development of my new home."