On a rainy afternoon in Kampala, I meet with Lwanyaga Haruna by the side of a busy road. His warm smile immediately welcomes me. “Do you want to see the store rooms, the workshop, or my show room?” he asks proudly. He knows that I have come together with a loan officer from Gatsby Microfinance Ltd. to visit his small business and hear his story. Haruna is a repeat borrower on MYC4.
“I make furniture like chairs, beds, tables. When clients come to look at my things, they want variety. It’s not enough to only have dining tables. People also want chairs. So if you don’t have a variety of products, they will go somewhere else.”
Haruna points to what looks like a wooden shed behind him and we start walking away from the road. I can soon hear the loud noises of people sawing and hammering, and I see that Haruna’s workshop is located in what looks like a small industrial cluster of carpentry. He’s been working here for more than 20 years, first as an apprentice and now as the owner of his own business.
“When I finished primary school, my grandfather asked me what I wanted to be. I said I wanted to become a builder or a carpenter, something physical. He arranged it so that I could follow one of the carpenters here for a couple of years to learn on the job. Today, I have a group of young workers who are learning the trade from me.”
With his first MYC4 loan of 1,739 euro, Haruna renovated his show room where his finished furniture is on display for potential customers to see. His second loan of 1,936 euro was used to buy more timber and machinery. He has currently repaid 78 % of this loan and he is on track with his payments to the 92 investors who funded his loan.
The loans have helped Haruna grow his business little by little. He now uses the small profit he gets every month to pay school fees for his four children, and he also tries to save a little whenever he can. His dream is to one day have enough money to move out of the slum and give his children a safer environment to grow up in.
You can watch Haruna talk about his business in the short video below.