I'd like to thank you all for your support over the last few years and for your
help - financial, practical and spiritual. Without this help, in all these areas,
little could have been done to help in our Uganda Project - so an enthusiastic thanks
My last visit to West Nile Disadvantaged Women and Orphans Association (WENDWOA)
in Koboko, Uganda was filled with energy and fraught with the usual challenges.
Despite this, a lot was achieved. We had Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP)
workshops for about 100 men and women, handcraft workshops for about 200 women,
which has touched even more.
Violence is rampant in the West Nile region for a number of reasons - the past wars
and insurrection, and also the fact that the area borders with D.R. Congo and South
Sudan and border areas so often have problems. Success of AVP is difficult to evaluate,
but we do know that the workshops are very popular and the men and women who attend
are enthusiastic about continuing and progressing to the next levels. Also the local
government leaders who were invited encouraged WENDWOA to introduce AVP to all the
local government employees - it would certainly be an advantage if more people in
the community experienced AVP too. Unfortunately, lack of funds prevents this from
It is easier to see the benefits of the various handcraft workshops. More women
can now make the plastic baskets made from clothing bale strapping - they are very
strong and popular locally. Baskets made of local grasses are also made. These are
much more beautiful and cheaper to make, but not so strong. Both are sold locally,
which is a goal we are aiming at - to help the women become self-sufficient and
not dependent on Canadian sales. Canadian sales; however, are very important because
the items are sold for much more than local prices - for example a life bead (rolled
paper) necklace would bring in about $1.25 in Uganda, whereas here we sell them
for $12 or more.
This last time I saw more discouraging activities with the youth - who are so often
unemployed and have little hope for a good future, often resulting in hopelessness
and a life they fill with alcohol, drugs (both home-grown and cheap) and violence.
An incident occurred when I was there of a truck being burned by some bored, disgruntled
youth. The vocational school that WENDWOA started for the orphans is trying to help,
but it is struggling. Sewing machines from Canada and laptops have helped greatly
and students are able to learn useful skills. A welding machine and materials are
coming from Canadian Friends Foreign Mission Board (CFFMB), as well as some welding
safety equipment from Princess Auto in London. This will add to the ability of the
vocational school to help more orphans to have a productive life with some hope
for a better future.
The various crafts that I have sold here in Canada have brought in almost $2,000
so far - which is wonderful! This money will be put toward things that are needed
for the organization ... not sure what at this time but I will oversee its spending.
Last year the craft money was spent on building a goat house and fencing for the
new goats - all of which has benefited the organization and so the women.
Many of you have attended fundraisers for this Uganda Project. The 100 Mile Harvest
Dinner a few weeks ago was a huge success again - thanks for coming. We have had
a couple of ceilis which have been fun and profitable. These have been a wonderful
help and credit goes to the organizers. Quaker Calm herbal tea has been developed
and sold for the specific purpose of providing medicine and medical help to WENDWOA
members and their families. An example of help given last year was a small boy of
about 4 who had fiery tonsils. The solution was to have them removed, a free operation
at one of the government hospitals. The problem was that the hospital is about 2
hours in a mini-bus away costing 15,000 Uganda Shillings (about $6). We paid the
transport, enabling him to have the operation and recover. He is now well and happy!
We plan to continue the development of this project. While WENDWOA's profile has
benefited from our presence and practical help from the government has increased,
the members are still lacking skills, particularly in the areas of marketing and
Unfortunately costs have increased in Uganda, and in addition, the Dollar exchange
has decreased, resulting in a worse exchange rate. An Alternatives to Violence workshop
for 25 people costs about $890; a handicraft workshop for 50 people costs about
$1,750. These fees provide three-day workshops with supplies, as well as food and
transport for participants and facilitators, and cover miscellaneous costs, such
as remuneration for interpreters.
As always, this Uganda project is supported by Yarmouth Monthly Meeting (Quakers)
in Sparta, but we greatly rely on individual contributions from individuals.
HOW YOU CAN HELP ...
- $20 will give one participant food for a three-day workshop
- $35 will give one participant a complete Alternatives to Violence workshop
- $35 will give one participant a complete handicraft workshop, with enough materials
to make more items and gradually become self-sustaining
- $50 will provide materials for an Alternatives to Violence workshop
- $85 will give an apprentice Alternatives to Violence facilitator a workshop allowance
For those wishing a charitable tax receipt, please make cheques payable to: Yarmouth
Monthly Meeting and mark them Attention: Uganda Project and send
Yarmouth Monthly Meeting
PO Box 105
[Editor's Note: The value of work goes far beyond its simple monetary benefits;
it helps give a person a sense of identity and self-worth that affects every aspect
of their life and the lives of those around them.]