The past two days have been busy but in a different way than Wednesday.
When we were at Shamma High School last week, Andrew was approached by a South Sudanese man who wanted to know what we were doing. He works with the people in a refugee camp and with South Sudanese who are in Kampala. Andrew felt that this was someone I should meet as his vision of empowering the women aligned well with ISEE.
On Thursday, I met with Reverand Joseph, Bishop Samuel, and three ladies who run programs for the women in the community. They have a large building that is rented for them where they have church but also training workshops in soap making. They are desperately trying to engage the youth as there are many South Sudanese boys who are orphans or whose fathers are fighting in South Sudan and these boys are getting into drugs. It is their goal to offer welding, carpentry, tailoring, and other programs to give youth and other community members some skills.
They were very interested in our reproductive health workshop but getting into the camp would be a huge bureaucratic headache as only certain organizations can go in and lots of official papers have to be signed. There are 60,000 people in the camp. (I know Days for Girls is looking to get their product into refugee camps so maybe this would be an access point for them.) The Bishop said that our “train the trainer” program would be good as they could bring community leaders to the building and we could train them on our reproductive health program.
I explained about what ISEE does and how we are small and not a funding partner but that the vocational training could be something that we are interested in maybe supporting. They invited us to return on Tuesday to see the soap making project and have promised to send outlines and budgets for their other programs that they want to start. We will see what we can do!
I then had a lovely visit with Margaret, one of our original Mamas who is still using the sewing machine we bought for her in 2014. Gertrude was next – a new Mama that the students at Dr Knox sponsored. She has a computer/stationers shop and is currently studying Information Technology on the weekends. She was doing her homework as we arrived with her adorable baby sitting on the floor next to her.
The afternoon was spent going through 33 Mama applications and unfortunately culling some of the applicants. Anna, Andrew and I managed to bring it down to 9 possibilities and Andrew spent the afternoon on Friday calling each one to get a feel of their business. Because this group is from outside Kampala and more in “the village”, there are more farming projects: chickens, goats and pigs. I will met with these ladies on Monday so stay tuned for the introduction of our new candidates!
Yesterday, I reconnected with three mamas; Lorna, Francoise and Aidah. They are very inspiring women. I am always humbled by how hard they work and the conditions in which they live.
There you go! Your update for the day. Saturday, we are presenting to the teachers at Alpha and Omega. We have a group of 45 and Andrew and I are presenting together. That is something new! We’ll see how it goes.
I wish you a lovely day.
PS – Francoise gave me a kitten!