Gift, a nineteen-year-old entrepreneur and mother, exudes the confidence and wisdom of a woman well beyond her years. She smiles and holds her firstborn, Ryan Joli, who at seven months old has big, brown eyes full of curiosity and wonder. During her prenatal visits at the Butemba Health Clinic, Gift learned that she qualified to receive a solar light through Let There Be Light International’s Safe Births + Healthy Homes program.
The solar light helps Gift with nightly activities such as breastfeeding and safely walking to the latrine. Moreover, Gift has begun to set aside the money she used to spend on batteries. In just six months, she was able to save enough to get her retail business off the ground.
Gift opened a shop on the main road that connects the nearby towns of Kikonda and Bukwiri to Uganda’s capital, Kampala. While Gift had always wanted to start a business, the solar light finally gave her the savings she needed to make her dream a reality. As rent remains one of her biggest expenses, her next goal is to help her family buy a plot of land where they can build a house of their own.

Gift’s ability to contribute financially has changed the power dynamic in her relationship and brought her great happiness. She smiles confidently and declares, “Now I can buy whatever I want without having to ask my husband. It feels good making my own money as a woman.”

In addition to seeing the positive changes in her own life, Gift has become an ambassador for the Safe Births + Healthy Homes program. When her admiring neighbor asked if he could buy her solar light, she told him it wasn’t for sale, but advised that his family could qualify for a light if he brought his `{`then`}` pregnant wife to deliver in the health clinic. Having initially insisted that his wife give birth at home, the neighbor changed his mind when considering the possibility of a solar light. Gift reveals that their baby was indeed born in the clinic, beaming as she considers she has shared the financial and mental freedom and benefits of a solar light with another family.