Josephine Amoni and Joyce Allum
Josephine and Joyce are cousins from Gulu in Northern Uganda. About 15 years ago, they moved to Central Uganda fleeing the war, and looking for brighter horizons.
Both ladies are single mothers and the only income earners for their families.
In addition to working as tailors for Grassroots Uganda, they also each hold multiple other jobs as they struggle to pay their children’s tuition fees, support their homes, and send money back to Northern Uganda for their families who stayed behind.
In the future, both ladies wish to move back to Gulu. Joyce hopes to open her own tailoring school for under-privileged young girls, and Josephine wants to build her own house, and ensure that her children finish university.
Flavia is an Acholi Lady from Northern Uganda. She fled the war, and now lives in a semi-urban slum. Her husband was a child soldier who used to guard the IDP Camps (Local Refugee Camps) from the Rebels. He suffered from PTSD and often took his frustrations out on Flavia. She eventually left him, and taking their two children with her, she moved into a one room mud hut. One night the husband became ‘possessed by demons’ and he attacked Flavia with a Machete in front of their two children, and left her for dead after calling her friend to come “clean up the mess.”
Now, two years later, Flavia is healed to the point that her injuries will allow. She works as a cleaner in a local church, is involved in one of our women’s groups, makes a variety of jewelry items for us, and is enrolled in tailoring classes over the weekends. She is a strong, determined, and truly inspirational young woman.
Tina is an extremely motivated mother of two. She graduated from University with a Degree in Business. However, due to severe overpopulation, the job market is extremely competitive and she could not find work. So she decided to create her own.
Tina is the Director and a founding member of Self Reliance Uganda- a microfinance organization that provides business training and loans to widows, ladies living with HIV/AIDS, and single mothers so that the women can start their own businesses.
To earn money, Tina makes and sells crafts with Grassroots Uganda. Her long time goal is to open a youth center where she can work with young women, and help them raise themselves to a level of self sustainability.
Beatrice Nyambura Wahu
Nyambura is a member of the Kikuyo Tribe from the central regions of Kenya. Growing up in Nairobi, Nyambura has spent her life surrounded by urban African culture, and she creates her jewelry in a fashion reflective of both local customs, and urban style. Using local beads made from recycled glass, cow horn, bone, clay, amber, and stone, Nyambura forms her jewelry into a funky bohemian blend, which is both colorful and classy. Her jewelry is reflective of her lifestyle.
Aisha is a single mother of six girls. She has been involved with Grassroots Uganda since we were founded in 2006 and has been an invaluable asset.
She lives in Namakuma, a very rural village near the shores of Lake Victoria. Aisha is the primary artisan in our Go Organic! line of seed jewelry, as well as sewing a number of our textile items, and weaving baskets. In her spare time, Aisha collects seeds from the jungle, works as a midwife’s assistant, sells roasted maize on the street, and (somehow) finds time to raise her six daughters!
Aisha has used her earnings from Grassroots Uganda to buy land, and build a brick home. She is also ensuring that all of her daughters get quality education because none of them should have to struggle as much as she has.
Rwo-Tek Women’s Association
Rwo-Tek is located in Kitgum in Northern Uganda, an area that for the past 26 years has been torn in a war between the LRA rebel army (Lord’s Resistance Army) and the Ugandan government. Many of our women have been living in IDP camps after watching their husbands and families murdered, had children abducted and forced to become child soldiers, and lost limbs to landmines. The women of Rwo-Tek have been through Hell and came out smiling. They have an unwavering faith in themselves and their abilities. Their lives have been unspeakably hard, but their constant optimism and unbreakable spirits give them the drive to work diligently because they know that they can, and will, improve their lives.
MUMYO Women’s Craft Group
MUMYO Women’s Craft Group is located in Naggalama, a sleepy little town in Central Uganda, where the main pastime is sitting by the road watching the periodic car drive by. These ladies are a fantastic mix of both Christians and Muslims, working together to form a whole. Previously, before joining the group, most of these ladies were subsistence farmers. Now they have a steady source of income, and within their group they have initiated a revolving loan ensuring that every woman is able to have access to start up money for her own independent income generating activity.
Namakuma Women’s Group
Namukuma Women’s Craft Group is located in the village of Namukuma, amongst the rolling hills of South- Central Uganda, where subsistence farming agriculture meets primary growth rain forest. It is a quiet village, with a distinctive absence of power lines and roads. It is also an area that has been severely ravaged by HIV/AIDS. The ladies of Namakuma focus on making baskets from banana fiber, and buso, a stringy fiber peeled from papyrus reads that is dyed, and used to weave intricate designs into the baskets.
Lubanga Twero Women’s Group
The women of Lubanga Twero are Acholi ladies, who fled the war in the north to live in semi-urban slums in Central Uganda. They are strong willed, determined, and highly opinionated ladies, who know without a doubt that they can accomplish whatever they put their minds to. When many of them fled the war, they came with nothing; just the clothes on their backs and the hungry mouths of their children. But now, after years of hard work, many have started their own small businesses, they own brick homes, and they are ensuring that their children be educated.
They are by far the most successful group of women that we work with, and they have done it all with their own hard work.