Training and Micro-Finance for Widows in need, who also grow trees, beddings and food parcels for the poor elderly who are alone, pads and knickers for girls in need, and clean water in Kaberamaido, Uganda. Thank you.
Our charitable causes are located in Kaberamaido an area of Uganda also blighted by the civil war that lasted for years. These wars took countless young lives senselessly and an important generation was decimated. This created many Widows and orphans and a huge number of old people whose children were killed during the war. We initially started with Widows but the plight of desperately poor old ill people sleeping on reed mats on dusty floors, with a piece of wood for a pillow, without covers, sleeping hungry many days, and leaking roofs, and also the plight of young girls who miss school and normal lives every time they get a period because they own no underwear and can't afford pads, was too much for us to ignore. We had to widen the reach of our project to touch these lives where they had the greatest need, even if it means one person at a time. That is why our campaign is called ANENI-ANENI - Where There Is Need. ANENI ANENI means I SEE YOU- I SEE YOU. Hence, the desolation that the elderly also endured, most of them lost all their children and everything they ever had during the civil war. Too old, and having no strength to start all over again they seat on the dusty ground by the doors of their dilapidated leaking huts, with sorrowful eyes. I thank God, my family escaped the horrors of war and found safety in London, England.
Helping the people in need does not stem from survivors guilt but from genuine compassion, and empathy for those worse of than I am. My grandmother had a heart for helping women and the youth in need. I remember my grandmother instructing harvesters to leave behind some of the harvests for the poor to come along, and gather. This was an ancient law that my grandmother adhered to, and she always helped poor women, and sheltered orphans, paid for their training and sent them out into the world. She taught me to love people. I started my charitable journey helping a widow here and there, until thank God, I met some friends joined hands with me in this work, along the way, as donors giving whatever they can.
When I visited my village after decades abroad, as an adult, I was traumatised by the change I saw in the people, dire poverty was evident all around, and the de-forestation was evident. The land that used to be rich, and green, with lots of towering ancient trees, and wild animals, was no longer that. After wiping away my unrestrained tears, I resolved in my heart to do something.
I initially started with Widows- ALIYAHSYN MEH KUMAH.AM FOUNDATION, now a program within ANENI ANENI called Aliyahsin Green Widows - Widows Against Climate Change. I could not ignore the groups of poor girls, and boys who stood crying outside the training centre where the widows were learning how to sew using machines. They cried because they wanted the same chance to change their lives too, and I was approached by old people in dire need too. This is why I have now changed my charitable causes to touch, Where There Is A Need, other than just single out one group of people in need. I call the organization ANENI ANENI (Where There Is A Need) because it means I see you, I see you in my mother tongue. We are still very small but I look at it this way, change can be achieved one person at a time, one tree at a time, just like a journey of a thousand miles is started by one step, one person today can become a thousand in a short time, and one tree today can become a forest in a few years. For me, the reward I get from seeing light return in the eyes of someone, and a smile breakthrough, is beyond words! There is great joy in giving, and illuminating with your light, a life that hitherto had dwelt in dark despair reflects and makes your own world shine that much brighter too.
Is to touch as many lives as we can in the area where they need desperate help the most. Does not matter how small as long it makes a positive change in the lives of those in despair.
We have started to repair roofs, but due to a lack of funds, we can only do it for those who are practically sleeping under the elements every night. We would like to be able to help more, repair leaking roofs for the elderly by getting them re-thatched, and doors and windows repaired too.
We would also like to be able to offer more emergency treatment for things like Malaria or some of the other life-threatening diseases. Eventually roll it out to the elderly who are losing eyesight due to cataracts in their eyes, which can be helped with a simple operation.
For example, Christine below is losing her eyesight due to cataracts, she is on our elderly program. She gets a visit from one of our project managers once a month with our Small Black Bag of vital food items that all the elderly on our program get.
Her roof badly needs re-thatching. She was treated for Malaria last week, and she is better now. By the way, just in case you wondered, she would not get up off her knees, until she had given thanks to all the donors, and of course to God, for touching your hearts to help her:) She blessed you all, and like any girl, she insisted on wearing her only Sunday best traditional wear for the photo, and video - sadly, this also doubles as her cover when she sleeps. Her hut is next on the waiting list for re-thatching, but just look at her joy! :)
The leaking roof:
We do not leave elderly men in need out, below is Mr. Ogut who has been left all alone in the world.
Malaria Emergency Medical Treatment For People In Need.
Malaria has become resistance to quinine, and the usual treatments as a result newer, and newer treatments have been brought in to help save lives. Many children in need, and the elderly in need who cannot afford these newer treatments offered only in private clinics die needlessly. The vital treatment, a series of medicinal, water, and glucose drips administered by a doctor over 3 days and prescribed vitamins costs only £18. By the second day a person who could no longer talk, can start to talk and sit up. It takes another 2 days before they can get up and stand without help. This treatment is a true life saver.
Training For The Youth In Need
We would also like more training for the young women and men, who otherwise have to marry too early without ever discovering their potential. We can get them trained to become Mechanics, Taylors, Drivers, Hair Dressers and Nurses to name but a few. The youth are very ambitious and driven, they are very keen to change their lives by gaining skills or going back to school. Primary education is free but after that, they must pay school fees, so they forced to drop out hence the tears.
Those two girls Chillo and Aida were one of the youths crying outside the training centre, we had to let them join the widows, hence the sharing of one sewing machine but that didn't faze them, look at the satisfaction on their faces:) They are being trained so that they can eventually make sustainable pads using natural fibres such as bamboo.
Aliyahsyn Green Widows - Against Climate Change
This would create jobs for the widows, and also provide environmentally friendly pads for young women. This is why the widows are now growing bamboos as part of our reforestation efforts. We aim to grow different kinds of trees too, formerly indigenous but now missing from the area. However, we are starting with Bamboos.
Bamboo is a great plant that helps fight climate change because it is one of the fastest growing tall plants, it captures more carbon from the atmosphere, and produces more oxygen. It is a highly sustainable plant because of the way in which it re-grows fast.
Not only that bamboo is a great way to quickly re-claim habitats that were ravaged by de-forestation, and the resultant soil erosion, while giving shade and looking fabulous too!
Our own are still Bamboo toddlers in diapers :)
The widows get Micro-Finance to open a business at the local market or buy fish from the fishermen to re-sell at the market. They have their own system of lottery that decides who gets a chance to open a business. They are well organized and keep good records, it is wonderful not to have to micro-manage everything on our part. Micro Finance is meagre but it does transform lives, the amount varies depending on the funding we get, it can be as little as $50 - $300 to get them back on their feet.
That is Igisa, one of the widows showing visiting donors her market stall, she is very proactive:)
Art And Craft Widows Exhibtion:
We also provide the widows an opportunity to sell their art or crafts through a small exhibition we hold just for them to showcase their talents, and make some sells.
They love it and appreciate the platform so much.
EGALIN - Bike Program:
We also have a bike program for the widows, that provides them with their only means of transport as they move their wares around the markets. We only provide this if a donor chooses to sponsor this program as we are hard-pressed dealing with more desperate or essential issues. However, bikes really liberate these women and give them the freedom to travel around selling their stuff and of course the joy at getting is a joy to behold:)
That is me there, sharing in the joy, thanking Megan from America for her amazing support! (Please, do ignore the hair, I don't know what I was channelling there, dear Lord! : )
JERUSHA GIRLS IN NEED PROGRAM
Poor girls miss school feigning illness during their period, too shy to reveal that they don't have sanitary towels or even underwear. Most of them are the children of widows or orphans. We provide basic sanitary towels and knickers, so at least each girl has two pairs of knickers, and a packet of pads a month. Just £15 can buy sanitary towels for 20 girls for 1 month and £30 can buy 20 girls 2 pairs of knickers.
Lack of Clean Water Affects The Life Chances Of The Girl Child:
The availability of clean water is a big problem that impacts the lives of young girls greatly and affects their studies just as much as the lack of sanitary towels.
Traditionally it is the girls and women who fetch water carrying them on their heads for great distances. It is mainly girls who are expected to this from the age of 5, fetching water from great distanced that pass through lonely wilderness places that have posed dangerous on many cases.
This makes them either arrive late for school or too exhausted to be on equal footing with the boys. After school instead of doing homework they are back on the back breaking task of fetching water.
This causes girls to under perform and drop out of school into early marriages without achieving their full potential. The water sources are usually open to the elements and shared by every kind of wild creature imaginable.
The girls are expected to fetch water everyday, morning and evening sometimes two trips after school through all kinds of weather.
If the girl has no friend or sibling they have to make this journey by themselves regardless through the wilderness.
When it rains all kinds of things including animal droppings are washed into these wells. This causes many illnesses especially among the children, afflicting them with life threatening diseases caused by things like Giardia infection and Ameobic Dysentery to name but a few. We would like to be able to provide boreholes for clean water in the villages so young girls life opportunities are not swallowed up by the drudgery of water fetching.
We thank you so much for joining us in touching the lives of those less fortunate than ourselves.
Those that donations such as yours help, cannot thank you enough and Bless You.
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