I received the following email yesterday from Robinah, one of our artisans who makes beads from recycled paper. She asked me to share her words with her customers in the U.S. - so here they are!
Thanks very much for all the effort you put in to make our work a success. You are really a blessing to us. My children do thank you very much for what you do. I told them of how much you have helped us in buying our products.
Please tell the people who buy our products that they are a blessing in our lives. When they buy those products, they are indirectly looking after our families. They are feeding us with our children, we are able to pay the school fees thus they help them to acquire education which we had failed to give them. They give hope to the hopeless. Before I could make different products, but getting someone to buy was not very easy. Sometimes you wakeup very early to go and sell but come back with very little and at times with nothing yet it is the only source of income. The distance from my home to the market place is 6 miles but when you fail to sell it means you have to walk by foot back. That is how it is. So do really thank those people for us. Truly they are a blessing to us. God bless them.
About Uganda, it mainly known as the Pearl of Africa. Why? Uganda is a green country and God has blessed us with a good climate. The weather is fairly good. It is only that they have destroyed many forests hence tempering with the climate but still it has not yet got to worst. Uganda is a country with many tribes; I think there might be around 56 tribes in our country. That I can boast of.
Economically, it is still not developed thus making life not easy. It is not easy to earn a better living. Many children become school drop outs. They don’t get a chance to complete their education because of lack of fees and scholastic materials. We are also faced with the problem of unemployment.
About my work, Am a widow with four children and two extended family members who I take care of. My work is mainly in crafts. God blessed me with that talent. When I see something I always try to do it. I make different designs of beads from papers, and from these I create different designs of finished necklaces, ear rings, belts, and bags. I also make tablemats from sisal, old video tapes, bark cloth, and banana fibers. From banana fibers, I also make baskets of different types. From seeds we also make ear rings, necklaces, and belts.
We usually get together with other girls mainly who are school drop out to produce. Before they all had lost hope but after Elzinga getting us customers with Fair Trade prices, two of them have managed to go back for their education. My daughter and son have also gone back to school as a result.
Wayforward: We want to acquire a piece of land where we can put up a skills school for uneducated women. Mainly to equip them with the knowledge we have so that they can also help themselves. We also want other women to join. We believe that if God avails us with more customers then we shall be able to produce in plenty to satisfy the demand. Once again we are blessed when they buy our products.
God bless you