To empower the women we empower the men
We believe that empowerment - be it women's empowerment or economic empowerment is the responsibility of the whole community. Today, men hold the power and until they are equipped with the knowledge and enabled to change nothing will change.
We work with the whole community, educating and encouraging the men to work together in partnership with their wives and families.
Through teaching men to be carpenters (and girls and women if they want) and women to sew and make beads (and boys and men if they want) we are seeing a positive shift in attitudes.
Men and boys now share the workload of fetching water and firewood, working in the gardens and sharing responsibility of the money they are earning from the crops.
Empowering Young Adults through Skills Development
At Seeds for Development, we fund projects that equip young adults with income-generating skills. From sewing machines to carpentry tools and football boots to creative crafts, we believe in nurturing talents and fostering self-sufficiency among the youth.
Paper Beads: Our Paper Beads initiative involves teaching individuals the art of crafting exquisite paper beads from recycled magazines and posters. During each visit, we buy these handcrafted beads at the price set by the people making the beads. When their asking price is lower than what's found in tourist shops in Kampala, we happily pay more. These unique beads are then sold in the UK, with all proceeds contributing to our ongoing projects.
Football: Football plays a pivotal role in the communities we support. A decade ago, Burnley Football Club generously donated kits and sent four football coaches to train the child mothers and other teams. This commitment to sports has had a profound impact on our villages, fostering teamwork and collaboration.
Sewing Machines: Thanks to the kindness and generosity of Beverley Jenkins in the UK, we were able to provide nine sewing machines to empower child mothers. Today, they use these machines to create bags, clothing, and have even secured contracts with local primary schools to produce uniforms. This success has inspired us to assist Forgotten People's Projects in establishing similar sewing initiatives in their schools.
Saving Scheme: Encouraging the formation of savings schemes within each village is a key component of our work. While some have thrived more than others, we firmly believe that empowerment, whether for women or economic development, is a collective responsibility.
The Child Mothers
In 2011 we met a group of young child mothers. After hearing their stories and seeing so much suffering amongst these young teenage mothers we could not walk away.
They formed their group in 2010 after discovering they all shared these things in common:
Abducted by the rebels
Forced into marriage as children
These girls are the foundation of all of our skills training work. They inspire, motivate and encourage everyone who comes into their contact.
The original child mothers are grown up now. The wonderful thing is that all of their children go to school, getting the education that was cruelly taken away from their mothers.
They now mentor and support a group of younger child mothers and two of the original girls have set up another group that we call The Child Mother Breakaways.
"Tell the world about the challenges that face women in northern Uganda"
This was the message given to Seeds for Development Founder Alison Hall in 2015.
At an impromptu village meeting The Twenty Club was born. There were 20 women there wanting to make a change in their community.
They had nobody to turn to and felt increasingly isolated as their families (often their sons) would force them from their homes, following the death of their husband.
The women were banished to the bush where they had to rely on kindness or forage for food and water. At that meeting we decided to start a group to give them a collective voice.
That simple act of solidarity, and some new T-Shirts, has transformed these women from victims to leaders.
The group holds regular meetings (no men allowed) and membership has grown to around 50, but they are still called The Twenty Club!
They now feel empowered and move around the community, visiting women, families and schools. They talk to girls and parents about the importance of staying in school. They explain about periods and how you get pregnant. They educate families and classrooms about basic hygiene and sanitation, helping prevent diseases such as Malaria. Their confidence is contagious and we can see how their own lives have improved as well as the lives of everyone they meet along the way.
Everything they teach was taught to them through the Community Workshops that Seeds for Development fund.