When Jennifer Ayoo was six years old, she had two dreams. One was to be a teacher; the other was to build a house with an iron-sheet roof, just like the other homes in her Acholi village. She would gaze at her family’s grass-thatched house and try to imagine what it would feel like – to be a teacher and have her own iron-sheet home.
At the time, nothing seemed impossible. Life in her small, supportive community had a comforting regularity. In the mornings, the children would fetch water from the well, wash dishes and sweep the compound, then join their parents in the gardens to help with weeding. In the late afternoon, mothers returned home to cook while children watched the babies. And in the waning hours before bedtime, she would listen to the calming sounds of adults talking around the fire.
But in 1978, that life abruptly vanished. The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a guerilla force fighting against the Ugandan government, attacked Jennifer’s village.
“I was about 8 years old when the rebels came,” recalls Jennifer. “When they started firing, people climbed up trees, ran in every direction looking for refuge but many could not run fast enough. I saw neighbors shot and killed, huts burned to the ground, my whole village reduced to rubble.”
For 2 years, Jennifer endured the squalid conditions of government-run displacement camps. Then, at nine years of age, she was sent to live with her stepmother in Kampala, the capital city of Uganda. Life there was even more intolerable.
Six years passed before Jennifer found relief. An aunt, recently relocated from the north, had learned of Jennifer’s misfortune and kindly took her into her home in the Acholi quarter of southern Uganda. Yet both needed to work, and for many refugees from war-torn northern Uganda, there was only one kind of work available: pounding rocks at the stone quarry for a daily wage of 25¢ to $1.50 US. Jennifer and her aunt joined the ranks of hundreds of other displaced Ugandans. From dusk to dawn, seven days a week, they labored under the scorching sun, making barely enough money to survive.
Then one day, the extraordinary happened ...
“The village is a small place,” says Jennifer, “and when something new comes in, you can know of it in a day.” That “something new” was Project Have Hope.
From that day forward, Jennifer began living a new story. She received a loan to make and sell paper and glass beads. With her first effort a small success, she applied for and received a second loan for a more ambitious project - a boda boda (motorcycle taxi) business. When her taxi investment paid off, Jennifer used the earnings to create yet another successful business growing and selling sesame seeds. Jennifer has now saved enough money to build not only a home with an iron-sheet roof but three rental homes as well, ensuring a secure financial future for herself and her children.
With vocational training and loans provided by Project Have Hope, Jennifer Ayoo was able to build more than a home; she was able to build a life.
Give today to fund our work - and change a life.
The four women who graduated from the intensive designing training program have each embarked on new careers, using these coveted skills. Ayoo Florence has started designing bed sheets which are being transported and sold in Sudan. Abalo Florence and Okello Christine are receiving clothing orders from their trainer, and are working closely with him until they save enough money to buy their own machines. Lalam Lucy, who had no tailoring skills before starting the course, is continuing to train under the supervision of her teacher. Not only are each of the creating better lives for themselves and their families, they have gained respect in their homes and community.
Just $25 provides month-long tuition for a woman to study vocational training, such as knitting tailoring or designing. With these increased skills a Ugandan mother can find work and better provide food, housing and medical care for her family.
Thank you for being a part of giving hope and building brighter futures for familes in Uganda.
This Mother's Day, consider honoring a special woman in your life by making a donation in her name.
Just $25 provides month-long tuition for a woman to study vocational training, such as knitting tailoring or designing. With increased skills a Ugandan mother can find work and better provide food, housing and medical care for her family.
Ayoo Florence is one such mother. Florence fled to the Acholi Quarter in 1994 to escape the war after the rebels killed all five of her brothers. She is the sole provider for seven children: five of her own and two orphaned nieces. Florence graduated from the intensive designing training program in March and is already using these coveted skills to embark on a flourishing career. Florence is making and designing bed sheets and traveling to Sudan to explore markets beyond Uganda. With such hard work and tenacity, we know she will be able to provide all of her children with a brighter future.
"Slowly by slowly," is a common expression in Uganda. It's a reminder that change doesn't happen overnight, but with consistent and steadfast diligency, great change can come. And together, we can be a part of that change.
Hope and a little help make all the difference. Together we can transform the community of the Acholi Quarter.
Thanks to your support, three women, Paska, Estarina and Jennifer, have begun their journey as entrepreneurs and successful businesswomen. Each has completed training in knitting and has received a grant with which they have purchased looms. With these two assets - training and a loom - these mothers are able to set up profitable businesses and provide a valuable service to their community.
In March, four more women will graduate. This time from a demanding course in designing. Each of them hope to follow in the footsteps of past graduates and start successful businesses which will transform their lives and give new opportunities to their children's lives.
Your support is crucial to their success.
Your gift has the potential to create unlimited opportunities and financial independence to help these women escape the hardships of poverty. We thank you for your continued support.
Industrious. There's no better word to describe Anyiri Estarina. She makes beautiful paper bead jewelry, cultivates mushrooms, brews a local beer, and embroiders tablecloths to support her family of five.
For just $250, Project Have Hope enrolled Estarina in a vocational training program to learn knitting, providing her with life-changing, dream-making skills. She is currently employed in the workshop attached to the school in which she studied. Soon she hopes to purchase a loom which will enable her to start her own business of making school uniform sweaters. With her business skills and determined attitude, we know that she will be successful.
Your support allowed her to access this opportunity. Your support means a new life. Your support enables her to send her children to school, create jobs, and ensure a brighter future for her entire community. Project Have Hope will continue to assist Estarina and other enterprising women in the Acholi Quarter as they rebuild their community, business by business, with your generous support.
Thank you from all of us! This holiday season, share the gift of hope by supporting the industrious entrepreneurs of the Acholi Quarter. You can choose to make a donation in someone's name and receive a festive card from GlobalGiving for this personal gift. Your gift is endless in its impact on the entrepreneurs, their families, and the Acholi Quarter community.
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