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Grandmothers step up.
Because every child deserves a family.

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Effects from the HIV/AIDS crisis are still felt in Uganda today. And extreme poverty continues to destabilize families and put children at risk. Early on, Nyaka recognized that educating children needed to go hand in hand with ensuring their basic needs were also met at home. Sustaining families would mean providing adequate food, shelter, and economic opportunities. 

Our Grandmothers program is an innovative, scalable, home-based model of care that aids the healthy development of each orphaned and vulnerable child. To date, we’ve reached 20,000 Grandmothers and the 80,000 children they care for — many of whom are not part of their biological families.

These women step up for the sake of their communities, knowing they play a key role in strengthening the future of all families.

Our Grandmothers program contributes to the realization of these UN Sustainable Development Goals:

Home-based care.

When Grandmothers are accepted into the program, they enter into our ecosystem of support. With their own children claimed by HIV/AIDS, they have little support from their biological families. Some live without shelter, or a basic pit latrine or cooking structure. Nyaka carries out needs assessments and utilizes community-based decision making. Together, staff and Grandmother leaders prioritize who is most in need of resources — from newly-constructed houses to renovated kitchens and pit latrines.

Beyond structural improvements, we provide agricultural equipment and household items, like hoes to increase food production and washbasins to improve hygiene and decrease illness. 

Grandmother groups.

These regular meetings bring together over a hundred Grandmothers at a time to share education, training, and support. Each group is led by three elected women, who are trained by Nyaka staff to disseminate vital skills.

The Grandmothers gather each month, sometimes walking great distances to access this valuable support network. They discuss food security and share ideas for improved gardening techniques. Groups also receive business and vocational training, and opportunities to participate in our microfinance program. And they receive health education, like HIV/AIDS management. Most importantly, they learn how to best support the emotional and psychological development of children in their care, many of whom have faced great trauma and neglect.

"I am supported and loved because I am a Nyaka granny."

Mukaka Serena13 years with Nyaka
Meet more Humans of Nyaka


Our microfinance program is a natural fit for the Grandmothers, as they trust each other and are highly self-regulating. $260,000 is in circulation among 128 Grandmother groups, with the average loan around $20. Each group decides who will receive seed capital to invest or to start a new business, pay for medical care, or address other household needs. 

Repayment rates are exceptionally high, with a timely repayment rate of 97%. And many groups have also developed their own collective community funds. Whether they use interest earned to pay for essential items like mattresses, or as a retirement fund for the most elderly members, the program helps Grandmothers remain economically independent and provide for their families with dignity.

Buy from Nyaka Grandmothers on Etsy

Spotlight on Grandmother businesses.

Tumusiime Margret is 60 years old and lives with two orphaned grandchildren from her deceased daughter. The children’s father was injured on active duty in the Ugandan Army. Even before joining her Grandmother group, Margret was very involved in making handicrafts. But she didn’t have the capital to produce them on a large scale. Through membership in the group, Margret has access to loans as well as new business skills. Nyaka’s trainings have taught her how to expand her existing business and diversify her income by growing additional crops and rearing hens, goats, and pigs. With a loan of 300,000UGX (less than $100), Margaret was able to rent a market stall to sell small consumable items such as onions, beans, maize flour, and sugar cane. From these combined endeavors, Margaret has not only been able repay her loan on time, but can also ensure her grandchildren have all they need for school and support her son-in-law’s recovery.

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