Nearly two million people in Northern Uganda lost their homes, families, and villages as a result of the ongoing, catastrophic war traveling through East Africa. In 1996, they were forced to relocate to Internally Displaced People’s (IDP) camps in an effort to provide refuge and protection, however, a decade later the situation in IDP camps worsened as they became filled with disease, poverty, and malnourishment. Over the years, people were permitted to leave IDP camps and return to their villages, however, most people had nothing to return to. The limited access to education and employment forced many people to relocate to the small town of Gulu, seeking aid and opportunity. When we first learned about this horrific war, we expected Gulu to be filled with despair and hopelessness; but when we arrived in 2008, we met women who were strong, hopeful, and ready to see change take place in their community.
About Our Program:
Our artisans in Uganda grew up during the war, and as a result each have different stories and needs. Most of them had little-to-no education as kids. Some are HIV positive, single moms, and/or have experienced domestic violence. Others were left without family or a home because of the war. As a result, we implemented a 5-year program that wouldn’t just care for a person financially, but holistically. The program is built on four main pillars: Financial Sustainability, Physical/Mental Wellness, Social Support, and Community Impact. After five years in our program, a beneficiary is ready to graduate. This means she is educated, healthy, and confident while managing her very own business where she will have an ongoing, sustainable income. Read about the initiatives for each pillar of the program below.