ISEE Solutions

Investing in Sustainability, Education and Empowerment Solutions

ISEE Solutions - Investing in Sustainability, Education and Empowerment Solutions

Update Jan 24 2023

{ed. note: Before we get into the main event, there are a few bits of housekeeping to discuss:

As we mentioned in a previous post some of our Period Packs went to Ghana over the holidays. Kassia is back and will be sharing her story here soon. The initial response has been quite positive, though, and we are already planning on sending some more kits with her this summer when she heads back. Thank you Kassia!

Erika spoke at the Lake Country Rotary meeting a few weeks ago — eternal thanks to them for their continuing support of our work — and one of the members wrote an article which mentioned our work. The response to this story has been phenomenal — we have to date received over $1300 in donations directly related to it. Thanks to Jim Taylor for putting our little charity in the spotlight!

Erika has been a long-time supporter of a community fridge project downtown. It is a community-based food pantry designed to address food insecurity in an easily accessible way. The fine folks behind the project also do PUPs — Pop-Up Pantries — where they set out tables in a community and provide food and other goods for those who want it. This weekend there was a PUP in Rutland and we took down a trunk full of food purchased by our family as well as a small box of Period Packs. The organizers tell us that there was much interest in the Packs and many people took one to try it out.

the pop-up-pantry
Our Period Packs along with other donated menstrual supplies and toiletries

We will continue to work with the organization as they search out a new home for their fridge. If you’re in the Kelowna area and have food that you can spare, do consider taking it down to the community fridge. It’s an easy drop-and-go system and we know it directly benefits people who may not otherwise have reliable access to food. No one should go hungry.

Thanks for all your support — now on with the show…}

Greetings to you all,

I hope that you are well. We are back again in the second week of our blog and everything for me here is going well. The sun is a little hotter than usual and the rain hasn’t been our friend in many parts of the country. So much dry vegetation and dust everywhere around the city and country and we can only hope for the rains soon. All farmers who planted are trying to harvest and ensure all their maize doesn’t die in the fields.

This week, we also had a wonderful time with the Mamas especially because we hadn’t seen each other in a while, and most of them were happy to see me again. I visited Maria, Christine, Annet, Semmy, Aida K, Lorna, Rashida, Jane, and Justine.


Rashida is doing great. A little too much sun has affected most produce towards the end of the year so she has a little fewer groceries than usual but otherwise she is fine. She has sent her daughters for extra classes to help them keep up. Rashida is one of the Mamas who takes education very seriously even when she didn’t have much of it. She ensures that all the kids have whatever they need to keep up in school. She pays for extra homework and even takes them to Islamic Classes at the mosque. She was serving lunch at the time of my visit which she often will sell to the police service men across her stall. She is creative and usually uses all resources around her to benefit her family.

Aidah frying chips

Aidah K is also doing well. She told me during the season she did not rest much even when she thought it would be slow but it turned out to be good. She has maintained her chips business and delivers her food to the clients and will oftentimes leave her daughter Angel to cut the chips and sometimes fry or flip the chips as she is delivering to other customers. 


Semmy S the nursery teacher is doing well. She came back early from her village visit because as teachers, they tend to have training and preparations at the beginning of the Academic calendar year. She came back with some chickens so she is also rearing them just in front of her house. She says the only risk is that thieves come and pick them so she always has to lock them in the poultry house. I thought she would not do the liquid soap business but she said that she actually has a couple of orders already and that she was going to take the soap very soon before the school term officially begins.

Lorna’s son at her stall

Lorna K is also doing well. She has managed to involve her sons in the business because one of them became irresponsible and was suspended from school towards the end of the term so she has forced him to start helping at the restaurant. She also did this because the village hospital has retained her as a peer educator in family planning and positive living. The only challenge is that they laid off 5 of the 8 people in her department where she volunteers so they are only three left and on top of that, her work day was shifted to Tuesday. Otherwise, the restaurant looks good and there is business as usual with both snacks and real food.

Harriet at her shop

Harriet L is back on the railway track as usual because the eviction has not happened yet. The good thing is that she is looking for another place to do her tailoring but she opts for a closer and more affordable place in terms of rent. Otherwise, for her, it has continued to be business as usual because her eldest daughter still faces the challenge to stay in school. After all, her dad will not pay for her school fees. He only pays for the other three he fathers. It is incumbent on Harriet to ensure that the eldest attends school on her own accord and that is why I push her to save more because of this responsibility.


Lilly A is doing okay. Business for her after the cross of the year has not been very good. It has been slow with a few general repairs on old clothes here and there but nothing big as she would have wanted. She was really happy with her hamper and like many of the Mamas like Francoise who kept the hamper under lock and key till 25th December, Lilly did. She has since opened her shop a week after the New Year’s celebration and she is back in business. I await to see how we can support her as the year proceeds.

Maria A wasn’t home unfortunately at the time of my visit but I was able to access the piggery and the sight of things was not good. She lost all 12 piglets and has remained with only two of the 14 she received at the end of the year. She suspected it was a disease but nothing was found but she has a suspicion of the people who built a wall next to her piggery. Unfortunately, many years ago when they had some emergencies, Maria and her husband decided to sell part of their plot to get money to meet some needs. It turned out that they were Muslims and the owner of the plot decided to donate it to a Muslim fraternity that has decided to fence it off and build a mosque. Since the construction started just after her pigs had given birth, the piglets started to die strangely. She would go to bed at night and wake up with one or two of them dead. When we spoke she was devasted because this is the only business that has helped her educate her children and her grandchildren, something that she knows how to do and does with so much ease but is now on the verge of being destroyed. The only option is to move the piggery from that location upfield across the house so to avoid inconveniences for both parties but we will look into the options available.

Annet’s daughter

Annet N is also doing well. On top of her tea and porridge business, she bought some counter books and put them outside her house for sale. This is an idea she developed because she knows it is the season for school so she bought them in bulk and it has not looked bad because, by the time of my visit, she had only a few left. I know this might not be a lot but it is a good effort for her to start another little earning to support her family. The challenge is that her daughters are the ones who tend to the home shop and she attends the roadside stall so this means when the girls are back in school, no one will tend to the home shop. Nevertheless, this was  a win for me because she finally started something small more so using her little profits. Then most importantly, she has her children involved in the practice.

Christine and son

Christine N was blessed with over 22 piglets from the two pregnant pigs she had last year. They gave birth just before Christmas and the piglets are now about a month old. She lost two of them as one died because the pigs started giving birth in her absence so one died immediately and the other was too weak because it must have been the last one to be pushed so the mother was tired too. I was so excited for her because she could easily now blow up in terms of business but also there is a small challenge that she might not feed them easily, secondly, no one is interested in buying them at this time of year so it may burden her a bit. Otherwise, she is okay, I was not able to visit the piggery because her husband was at home. She met me at Maria’s piggery with her youngest child.


Lastly, we spoke to Justine about rebuilding her stall because last year and now this year she had some troubles with her merchandise, and groceries when it rained. She would end up carrying the groceries back and forth in the house and out because the shelter was not good enough. This was a particular concern because this area is a swamp and water floods across her house. This would present the risk that she would fall while carrying these items back and forth. She was super excited and we will be doing this, this week so she has a safer business environment to thrive. She recently acquired another grandson who was chased by her mother from home. He was staying in the swamp with brickmakers as he would work for them for a little pay. When Justine heard about this, she sermoned that they send him to her and it turn out that all the accusations the mother was alleging were false because the boy is completely different. He helps out at home so she wants him to start school this year.

Jane’s former home
Jane and some family

Finally, I am trying to move Jane’s tank to the new location too but there is still some work to be done with this. I met her with her grandchildren at home trying to cook and also prepare for school. They are removing all the food from the swamp because they are soon leaving. The property developers have to pay her some balance but like most of them do, they are tossing her around until she accepts a very small figure for the settlement. This is the only reason Jane is still in this place. This place is almost unrecognizable because they have heaped so much soil around her used to be home and it breaks her heart. I have had to tread around her very carefully and be patient because this was her investment and life so her leaving like this, is not an easy thing.

Thank you to all who are making changes in the lives of these Mamas from Jane, and Justine to Amina and the rest in the pipeline, we would like to say thank you. Thank you for saving lives and giving these families hope for their children to go to school and have an education. We appreciate you all. It was nice to read an article from the Canadian sites (PENTICTON HERALD) about the work we have done over the years to help girls stay in school during their menstrual cycles. It is something that I love to talk about with young girls and all people, in general, to sensitize them about this natural phenomenon in the lives of girls out here. We must create an environment for the girl child to thrive wherever they are. Sanitary kits should never be the reason girls drop out of school because it is nature. We can help, we can support them, and we can keep them in school for a better future, for a better world. Follow our website for more details on how and what you can do to support a girl child.

Yours sincerely

Andrew Echel

Director of Programs, Uganda

ISEE Solutions Society

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