Category Archives: Livelihoods

News report on Katanga and the work we do

Check out the news report below of us on National TV in Uganda. The ‘Slum Report’ describes the poverty in Katanga and the work we are doing to help combat it.

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CLC photos

Here are some pictures from the Creative Learning Centre. You can find out more information as to exactly what the Creative Learning Centre is here but I will let the pictures do the talking in this post.

Livelihoods trainings

1912426_612963828799362_7887867242914372173_oOur Livelihoods team have been busy in training many classes of people in both tailoring and soap making.

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Sharon, our tailor trainer, prepares the machines we sent out last year from the UK, before one of her classes.

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Not only do we run classes specifically for those in our Livelihoods program but we also hold regular open workshops throughout the week that general Katanga residents can come to and learn from.

What’s great about this is it opens up education to Katanga residents of all ages, most of who never received a schooling education whilst growing up and on top of that, it’s free.

We at Hope for Life are so committed to resourcing the local community of Katanga, helping them become self sufficient families.

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Some men in Katanga have built a reputation for themselves of being jobless, alcoholics or just simply having a lack of motivation. Women on the other hand seem to have this resilience in life and are much more open and motivated by new opportunities of learning and progressing.

So with that understanding, we are so happy each time a new man wants to increase his prospects of earning a better living for his family, and decides to join our Livelihoods program.

10257440_612963695466042_3130321883809790481_o We will soon be introducing trainings in craft making, candle making and cookery into our Livelihoods program.

Keep posted for more pictures and stories…

 

Livelihoods building renovation

Since early 2013 it was quickly becoming clear that we needed to purchase another building for our Livelihoods work. We had been using our Education building for parent workshops and classes but we were struggling to fit these classes alongside the children’s catch up classes.

So during last year we bought another building in Katanga that we have now started to renovate for our Livelihoods project. We want to be able to empower adults in the community in earning a self sustaining income. We currently do this by teaching money management, business management and practical workshops that will help them to find new skills or further existing skills, which will assist individuals in running successful businesses.

We want to have a purpose built building that will be able to strengthen our Livelihoods work and be able to transform the lives of many lives in Katanga.

Below are a few pictures of the renovation so far…

The pictures below shows some of the Livelihoods work in action, whether it is in the blue catch up classes, on the pathways of Katanga or in individuals homes.

We are so excited for the potential that this building offers. The women, who we have given loans to, are now using the building to repay their loans and are also just as excited as we are to set up the sewing machines in the new building.

Our Livelihoods officer has busy planning and organising all the activities/workshops/trainings etc. that we will offer to Katanga residents when the building is complete, workshops including tailoring, catering, craft making, hairdressing.

We are now eagerly waiting tables, chairs, blackboards and cupboards so we can start using the building properly.

Thanks to all those who have helped donate towards the work we are doing in Katanga.

This New Year

Last week Hope for Life Co-Founder, Megan, said that it had felt like this new year has ‘crept’ up on us. I completely agree with that statement, for some reason 2014 seems to have come really quickly for us, after a successful and packed 2013.

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A lot has happened within this past year; from having our first child sponsored to go to school in January 2013, to having 10 children sponsored starting back at school this month.

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As we have had 10 children sponsored, we have welcomed 10 more children into our catch up classes.

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We have some new staff, who are really going to help progress the work we are doing further and have said goodbye to some of our faithful, staff and volunteers who have now moved on. We are so thankful for their early commitment to the work we do in Katanga and are sad to see them move on but we are so excited for our current team and for the work we are going to do during this next year.

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We have acquired a new building for our Livelihoods work, which is being renovated during this Christmas/New Year break. We can’t wait to give out more loans to women in Katanga to start their businesses and earn a ‘living wage’ to pay for their children’s education.

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We are looking forward to helping as many families as we can on their journey to escape poverty.

We are looking for more people to give monthly to the work we are doing in Katanga. If you feel you are able to give something monthly e.g. £5 – £20 – £100 then please let us know by emailing us at hopeforlifekatanga@gmail.com. If you are not sure but would like to give a one off donation then you can go to to our online payment website to give a donation.

Big thanks for your support throughout 2013 and we are looking forward to the year ahead.

We’re hiring!

We are currently looking for 2 more people to join our team in Katanga, Uganda, a teacher and a livelihoods manager. The deadline for both jobs being 1st November.

It was September 2011 when Megan and I first went to Katanga, September 2012 when we became registered as a small charity, before registering as a charity with the UK Charity Commission in September 2013.

Over this time we have been able to work with our friends in Katanga, providing education in our catch up classes, loans and training in our livelihoods program, health care and have made advances in improving the water and sanitation.

All of the work we have been doing over the past 2 years, has meant we need to employee a couple more people, to continue to support more and more families in Katanga.

We are so excited for the change these 2 people will bring to the development of Katanga.

Sewing Machines Arriving in Uganda

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We are very excited to see the sewing machines have arrived in Uganda and made it safely into Hope for Life’s project centre. In March 2013 we were kindly donated some singer sewing machines by Duncan Hill, who is based up north in the UK. He contacted Hope for Life after collecting some old singer sewing machines that needed some TLC, once he had managed to get them back into working order Duncan decided he wanted to give them a new home with a charity who would be able to use them to benefit a group of people. Duncan was kind enough to bring them to Bristol and teach our team of people how to use, maintain and fix the machines, so we can pass our knowledge onto the ladies in our Livelihoods project in Katanga.

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Three of our good friends were going to go to Uganda in August 2013, to take on the roll of teaching the Ugandan ladies how to use, maintain and fix the machines. The machines went to their house for a few month so they could continue to practice their skills so they didn’t forget before getting to Uganda. We managed to book the sewing machines onto a flight to get them to Uganda. This is all Thanks to many people donating specially for this cause.

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We also collected many donations of material, pins, tailors chalk, needle threaders, tape measures, cotton thread, sewing patterns and un-pickers. We ended up sending the sewing machines out with a fantastic variety of start up equipment to get them going on their sewing adventure. A huge Thank You goes out to everyone who donated equipment and money to send the machines, without you it couldn’t have happened.

The machines arrived in Uganda safely, after hours of carefully wrapping the parts so they wouldn’t get damaged if they were thrown, dumped and squashed through their trip to Uganda.

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One of our Ugandan team, Francis, worked hard on getting the machines from the airport into the care of Hope for Life. Just as things were coming to a tight time schedule, the machines were released from the airport the day before Beth, Ellie and Laura where due to teach the ladies.

Beth, Ellie and Laura arrived meeting Francis and the machines which were still packaged. Their first job was to unpack the machines, which was harder that you would expect as we packed them so well.

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As the children were on school holidays for 2 weeks the ladies were able to use the space where the children usually have their lessons. The new building, which we bought, is not renovated yet and has no furniture in but will be used for livelihoods projects like sewing. After the girls met the mums/careers of the children in our school, they set to work teaching the ladies the basics of the machines and how to use them.

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The girls said they were surprised how quickly they picked it all up. First, sewing basic lines, then embroidering their names onto some material.

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Then, make a bag with 2 handles on, and put their embroided names onto the bags they have just made. Not bad for total beginners to complete in 2 days.

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They were measuring, chalking the outlines, pinning material together, cutting the material and sewing it together, which is all very impressive. As a few people were sharing each machine, they were all helping when someone got stuck, or both learning when Beth, Ellie or Laura came over to help.

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The Ladies concentrated hard and put a lot of effort into learning, there is still more practice needed to neaten things up but they have some skills they will be able to further and try new things. The Ladies will get the opportunity to receive a loan from Hope for Life if they wish to start sewing as a business, they may work together or individually, making and/or fixing clothes and accessories for individuals, schools or companies. We will update you on how things go and what route they decided to take but for now we can be happy that these ladies now have hope that there is something for them to focus towards and dream about for their future.

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You never know one day you could be putting a order in for an amazing top or bag they have made using these sewing machines.

Massive thanks to everyone who made this achievable and a special Thank you to Beth, Ellie and Laura for giving up their time to come to Hope for Life Katanga and for teaching these lovely Ladies.

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Journey of the Sewing Machines to Uganda – Part 1

Megan and I spent a solid day and a half packaging the sewing machines and then driving them to London, ready to be flown to Uganda.

They are due to be arriving in Uganda this afternoon (7th August 2013); we can’t wait for the women in Katanga to start using them for their businesses.

Keep an eye out for pictures of the sewing machines out and being used in the next few weeks.

Day 9 – New Building

For the past 5 months we have been talking about the necessity of buying another building in Katanga specifically for our Livelihoods program.

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We currently have a single building that we use throughout the week for our children’s classrooms. The women, in our Livelihoods program, currently come in to repay their loans weekly and to have a open mentoring session, to see how their businesses are growing if there is any advice we are able to give. We also run adult literacy and numeracy classes, as well as practical workshops in these classrooms.

Livelihoods Training

We currently work with 20+ women in our Livelihoods program and this number is constantly growing. We have given loans to 6 women to start/further their own businesses and we are now in a position to give more loans to a further 6 women.

We are so pleased to tell you that we have now bought another building within Katanga. We will use this new building as a resource centre for our Livelihoods classes and workshops.

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We have recently been given 8 sewing machines that we are going to fly out to Katanga in the beginning of August. These machines will be permanently set up in the building, so that women can come an work together to earn money for their families.

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Now that we have acquired the building, there is a little building work that needs to be completed before we move in. We are hoping that by the time the sewing machines arrive on the 14th August we will have a renovated building ready for our Livelihoods work.     

Make sure you keep an eye out for pictures over the next month, of work that we will be doing.

Sending Singer sewing machines to Uganda

This year we received a very kind donation of 8 singer, sewing machines for us to take out to Uganda. We run a Livelihoods project for adults in Katanga slum, assisting them in starting businesses, though training, support and the giving of loans, so they are able to provide a sustainable income for their family.

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Our next aim is to send these machines out to Uganda and to do this we need £400.

Can you help donate towards sending the machines?

The best way to donate is through our Golden Giving page. Even what you feel is a small amount of money will go along way to helping us get these machines to Uganda. We will post lots of pictures of the machines as they arrive in Uganda, including pictures of the women in our Livelihoods program learning to use the machines.

Thanks for your help…

Donate by clicking the following link http://www.goldengiving.com/charity/hope-for-life-katanga

Day 8 – Livelihoods Loans

Our aim for the Livelihoods project is to ensure that whole families are supported, through a sustainable income. The main way we do this is by ultimately giving out interest free loans, so they are able to start their business and over time will be in a position were they can support their own families education, medical and nutritional needs.

Livelihoods Training

We started with the parents in classes, teaching money management and basic business skills. We want to be responsible with the money we are giving as a loan, this involves teaching the women an understanding of businesses, how they can grow and be sustainable.

We then ask the women to write a business plan, describing what they want their business to be, including how much it will cost to start, keep the business going and how much profits they aim to receive each day. Our Hope for Life team then look over each business plan to see if they are realistic, or whether we can work with them on improving their plan to become more sustainable.

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After writing the business plan is practical workshops. Most of the women already have the skill set to start their business but we help those who don’t yet have the skills and those who want to improve.

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After all of this previous work we will give out the loans they have requested, and we have agreed upon, in their business plan.

We gave out loans to 6 women in February 2013 and by the time we went back to Uganda to visit them in June, they were half way through the repayment of their loans; the video below is catching up with one of the women to see how their business is going, check it out… (be sure to watch it in HD and to see the children at the end)

New children and families joining us in Katanga

Recently we have had a few more children sponsored, from our catch-up classes, to go to school in Kampala. Children sponsored to go to school leaves spaces in our classroom in Katanga for new children and families to join our program.

Below are 3 children who have just recently joined our catch-up classes. It’s is not only the children who join our program but the family as a whole, so we will now be working alongside the families to help support them in a better future.

These children and families have joined our program here at Hope for Life Katanga because of a number of reasons for example, some come from extremely low income families, some from homes where there is drug and alcohol abuse and even some families which have parents missing due to death or neglect.

In each individual circumstance we work with the family to help in various aspects of their lives e.g. income, health and to help combat drug and child abuse.

Below our our the latest children to be sponsored, leave our catch-up classes and go to a formal school.

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If you want to know more about sponsoring a child to go to school for just £20/month then follow the link to go to our Sponsor a Child page.

Vivian, her girls and the LRA

IMG_3917[1] As I was walking around Katanga I was stopped by a lady, who was sitting outside her home with her 2 girls. She explained about how she has heard that Hope for Life had been doing some good work in the area and that she need helps too. (It is not unusual for us to be asked for help, whether in education or in the giving of loans to start their businesses).

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I wanted to know a little more about the family, other than they just needed help. So while they were preparing for their meal I asked her name and the names of her 2 children. Winnie (in the 1st picture) went to an orphans school and was in P5 and her younger sister went to a different school, which I have visited a few times.

I asked where she was from, Vivian (the mother) said she was from Northern Uganda. “And how come you moved to Katanga from the city?” “Because they burnt all the houses in my village so we had to move”.I had a good idea of who ‘they’ were but I asked anyway just to make sure,  “the Lords Resistance Army (LRA)”, she replied.

I chatted to her for a little while longer about her family and her life but I couldn’t get over how the LRA had affected her families lives. I had heard a lot about Joseph Kony and the LRA, read books, watched films, read news articles, watched YouTube videos, and was emotional because of them but… when I met this lady and her family I suddenly felt a connectedness to the issue in northern Uganda.

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I now don’t need reporters on the TV to tell me the stories of ‘those’ who have been affected by the LRA, I now hear the news direct from the people that we work with in Katanga.

In the process of moving to Kampala for safety reasons, they fell into a high cost of living and poverty in Katanga.

Mamma Akram and her family

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It was great to sit with Mamma Akram and Family this afternoon, whilst they all were pulling off the wings and legs off Grasshoppers ready for frying (a tasty treat, even if it takes a while to get over the fact that your eating a bug!).

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We were chatting swapping stories about each of our families and lives, when I asked how much she was to earn from her family pulling these legs and wings off?

She replied, ‘300 shillings per cup and we have now done 3 cups’.

The family had worked together to get 900 shillings that day, which totals to 23p. 23p that 5 people had been working for. I asked why the boys were helping and why they were not playing football or something else, she then replied, ‘because they know that if they do not work then we do not get money to feed the family tonight’.

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A harsh reality from the lives of people who live in Katanga Slum.