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Ritah Nyamwiza, A Rare Gem September 21, 2009

Posted by Mike O in Charity.

Ritah_n2I wish I could claim any responsibility for helping Ritah Nyamwiza become what she is today, but I can’t.  I have to admit that I only met this wonderful young lady after the pressures of a hard life were taken by her stellar character to form and burnish the precious jewel she is today.  An extremely gifted writer of high intellect and a caring soul, she is a joy to associate with.  I have read and occasionally reviewed some of her writings (I find very little in need of correction and can rarely suggest improvements), talk with her occasionally and- as of this summer- became her ‘business partner’.  If I ever actually go into semi-retirement and go to set up a small business in Uganda, Ritah would be the first one I would look to hire.  Alas, I fear I won’t be able to afford her by the time this happens; she’s too good and will likely be running an NGO by then.

Her proposal for business is here:

Dear Uncle Michael,
I was supposed to have typed this in ms word and attached it but I thought I would just send an email with the explanations.
With the increasing unemployment rates in the country due to the global credit crunch problem- young people all over the country have been encouraged to be job creators and not seekers. It is in light of the above situation that I came up with the idea of a small business. it would be dealing in ladies bags, shoes, accessories and clothes. This side income is very much needed.. I estimated that it would cost me 400000 and that is why am seeking for the loan as I plan to raise 200000 from savings. I would also request for a grace period of 2months and thereafter spread the repayment over a period of 4 months. Let me know what you think.

My response is here:

I have read the proposal and approve it, with some modifications.

I have never seen a small businessperson who- starting out- sufficiently capitalized at startup; there are always excess expenses.  Therefore, my loan will not be 200K; it will be 300K loan (possibly a little more, depending on exchange rate).  My target for delivering this will be June 15th -16th; I cannot preclude some delay, but do not expect it.

A grace period of 3 months will be granted, with repayment spread over 12 months.  Repayment will not to me; you will serve as a charitable source  for that period.  You will report to me who, what and why you donated 25,000 that month, along with regular business reports (those reports will serve as your interest payment).  Frankly, this will be excellent training for the NGO world.

I also am fully aware (as hopefully you are) that most small businesses fail.  Should this occur in your case, I expect a fully detailed report on the what, why, hows and the lessons learned.  You will still be obligated even if the business fails; however, that obligation may not involve financial repayment.  It will take the form of specific charitable service to others; to be as specific and detailed as a payment version.  That can be tutoring or other assistance of significance to others.  I need consistent reporting in any regard.

This is as much a training exercise as anything else for you, not to mention a means of keeping up with you (which I enjoy immensely.  There is an additional long-term cost to this: Should I actually work out how to establish a small business for my retirment in Uganda several years from now, I will likely need a top-flight business manager to help make it successful.  I want the option to talk to you at that time about it, because I currently can think of no one I know there more likely to be a sure bet for that role than you.

BTW:  I am always available as a personal reference for you; if i was a hiring manager, I Would would hire you on the spot for almost any public-relations, presentation, and/or customer interaction role.  I expect anyone as impressive as you to be highly successful.

And this was the latest report from her:

dear Partner,
Am so safe and sound. Thanks for the concern. I am giving the first batch of money-20k to  a boy I identified whose mother can not afford to buy him school necessities. After that however, am going to be supporting a family of five- the father is ailing, the mother doesnot work and she has to take care of her three children. Two of them go to school. Their school fees totals up to 40,oo per term. The  year has three terms but they also need neccesities, other wise they can not go to school.
I will keep in touch. I am bogged down -lots of things to do.
take care
This young lady leaves me speechless (no small feat 🙂 ; Thank God for such people!


1. Ritah Namwiza - September 22, 2009

you are giving me much more credit than I deserve. I have learnt from people like you. You are an inspiration yourself.

2. A Week to Go! « Mzungu Mike: A Charity Ronin for Uganda - September 29, 2010

[…] and three camera’s going to my ‘daughter’ Winnie and my ‘nieces’  Ritah, Irene, and […]

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