War torn Uganda has suffered from brutal rebel attacks that have abducted their children and killed many of the villagers. Entire families have been lost but usually, it’s only the main provider and a child or two that are taken. this frequently leaves a woman alone to care for the remaining children and provide for herself. As if the emotional toll wasn’t enough she must now make a living for herself and child or children who are left behind.
In 2001 a short term missions trip went to Uganda. This small group of people helped to bring clean water and hope to these small war torn villagers. One of the first things these missionaries noticed was how the women were suffering due to lack of income. Putting their heads together they formed a group of concerned persons and soon created Hands Across Nations.
It was through Hands Across Nations that a self sufficiency program for women was started. If the women could learn they could find ways to provide for themselves so this group of missionaries did what seemed impossible for the women of Uganda. They taught them to sew.
Not only did they teach these women to sew their own garments, they taught them to sew for others. Soon, a business had boomed. These women were providing for themselves, their children and their families. In no time at all women were coming by the dozens to the missions group asking to be taught to sew.
In no time the missionaries realized that they were going to need some supplies so they sent word back to their various communities of origin that they would be in need of fabrics as well as manually powered sewing machines. Fund raisers were begun and in short order people were donating money and supplies to the cause.
Soon, classes were begun for those interested in learning how to sew. Women who were interested would walk to the hut where the missionaries stayed and ask to be taught to sew. In 2009 a group of women and Hands Across the Nations started the first sewing class. Today, a group of 41 women have graduated from the sewing school for widows, orphans ans single moms. Upon graduation a treadle sewing machine has been provided for each and every graduate so that they can now provide for their families.
Today these women are self sufficient. Through “economic empowerment these women are now able to support their families and are enjoying the freedom of having an income and being able to provide for their families” according to Jason Hope. No longer are they struggling with the poverty issues that once prevailed.
There are many ways that local communities can help provide for these projects and make a difference in the life of an impoverished Ugandan family. Through generous donations women are finding that they can climb out of the depths of poverty. Check on Hands Across Nations website or Life Stitches website (both located above) for more detailed information on how people who wish to help with donations can do so.