STARTING OF WOMEN AND GIRLS CAN INITIATIVE

Being a secretary to the Bishop for eight (8) years and for two different Bishops, enabled me to witness how the community we serve is in dire need of empowerment socially, economically, spiritually, medically and mentally. This challenge dwelt in my heart and day by day the pains piled as I so more women and girls coming to office to seek assistance for education, jobs, medical assistance or clothes. Matters worsened when these suffering women and girls approached me for assistance. I felt ashamed and touched but by then I could not help in any way as I knew what the Diocese can afford.

In June 2010, I decided to get my dream into action hence founded the starting of Women and Girls Can Initiative (WaGCI). It is a Christian based women organization but inter denominational to beneficiaries because we believe and acknowledge that need has no boundary.

After recognizing the gross injustices suffered by women and girls in my home area, I resolved to do something about it. I set aside a sum of money from my monthly salary and funded the starting WaGCI. I was later joined by other women I talked to and they too made contributions and through their joint effort they have over the period managed to expand membership to 21.

The organization’s belief is that women and girls can mobilize, be mobilized and organized into a force to fight for their rights and improve their quality of life once they are made aware of their plight and the fact that it is in their power to change their situations for the better. WaGCI also recognizes the importance of networking with other organizations and individuals with similar ideals and formation of partnership in and outside Uganda with people and institutions sympathetic to women and girls’ cause.

Since the starting of this Initiative, we have been able to support 16 needy girl children with scholastic materials and getting them bursaries in schools so that they can advance their education.

Angels of Hope Junior School: 7 girls

Good Shepherd Christian Junior School: 5 girls

Lyna Infants Nursery and Primary school: 4 girls

We have handled only primary section because our potential can afford that but with grace of Holy Spirit; we shall get the number increased as the demand remains high.

LESLIE AND TONNIE GIRLS’HOME OF HOPE

This home is dedicated to Dr.Leslie Virginia Wells and Dr.Tonnie Wulff from USA

Leslie and Tonnie Girls Home of Hope in Mpugwe Trading Centre neighborhood of Masaka Municipality is the heart of our project, where needy orphaned and vulnerable girl children will be welcomed into the Leslie and Tonnie Girls Home of Hope family. The home is not an orphanage; it is the first step in a child's journey from life on the streets, suffering, self denial and abandonment to a unique place within the Leslie and Tonnie Girls Home of Hope family.

Projects under Leslie and Tonnie Girls Home of Hope will be:

i)        Marcia Ann Mims Junior School For Universal Excellence

ii)      Jeanette Girls Welding Training Centre and Workshop

iii)    Nancy Women of Hope Self Help Fund

iv)    The Stanwick Hope and Healing Community Clinic

v)      Shuntai Artisans Guild

vi)    Kellie Frazier Kindergarten

Our Leslie and Tonnie Girls Home of Hope will change the lives of needy orphaned and vulnerable girl children and few displaced women who occupy the margins of our society.  Our family based care model successfully addresses more than their basic needs.  The Leslie and Tonnie Girls Home of Hope reunites extended families, sustains weakened households and rebuilds families affected by HIV/AIDS, domestic violence issues, and other diseases. The Leslie and Tonnie Girls Home of Hope helps reweave the fabric of a society overburdened by extreme poverty, food instability and stretched community resources - one family at a time.

In Uganda, the consequences of poverty, domestic violence and disease strain families and entire communities. Children whose parents are chronically ill or living with HIV and stricken by poverty are at greatest risk. In many instances, a sibling group that loses one or both parents finds themselves alone with the eldest child acting as head-of-household, caring for younger brothers and sisters.  They have no legal protection, and often, dishonest adults force them from their family homes onto the streets and child labour while they are still grieving the loss of their parents and bruises of domestic violence. In Greater Masaka alone, there are ten thousands orphaned and vulnerable girl children living with no basic needs like food, clothes, education and medication.

Typically, eldest needy children continue to live on their own, where they suffer from hunger, abuse and predation.  In response to this tragic situation, Leslie and Tonnie Girls Home of Hope intends to reach out to teenagers, large sibling groups and individual girl children, welcoming them into care and legal protection at the Leslie and Tonnie Girls Home of Hope.

Existing Social agencies and the local government provide few social safety nets for vulnerable girl children or domestically abused women. The social stigma associated with HIV/AIDS leaves widowed women particularly vulnerable; they do not have access to education, training, health care or economic opportunity.  They live in abject poverty, often times begging on the streets and villages with their children in tow, or doing menial labor for unscrupulous employers.  At Leslie and Tonnie Girls Home of Hope, we plan to reach out marginalized women welcoming them into our Shuntai Artisans Guild and helping them regain a position of dignity and respect through earning a living.

It is hard to imagine the level of abject grief and poverty endured by Uganda’s orphaned, vulnerable girl children and displaced women. Traditional development assistance programs and anti-poverty initiatives address their immediate need for food and shelter, but these programs do not adequately respond to Uganda’s long-term need for a cohesive society. The affects of HIV/AIDS, poverty and domestic violence issues and other diseases have eviscerated an entire generation of the adult population, interrupting the course of Uganda’s cultural traditions, values and family structures along the way. How can a society grow and prosper when its children are raising themselves, and mothers are begging on the streets?

The Leslie and Tonnie Girls Home of Hope plans to fill this void.  Leslie and Tonnie Girls Home of Hope will strengthen weakened families, and builds family where there is none. Over the past 2 years, Women and Girls Can Initiative has examined and outlined areas of action and how it can create lasting change in the social realm - one family at a time.  The Leslie and Tonnie Girls Home of Hope will have the capacity to change lives in communities that HIV/AIDS, poverty, domestic violence issues and other diseases are ravaging the traditional family structure and weakening communities.

The impact that will be created by the Leslie and Tonnie Girls Home of Hope will make a significant difference in societies that need to regenerate their cultural, social and human capital. The Leslie and Tonnie Girls Home of Hope model is replicable and represents a solution to the global girl orphan crisis and women living in poverty. The Leslie and Tonnie Girls Home of Hope model will work where HIV/AIDS, domestic violence, child abuse issues and poverty are taking their toll.  Join us as we rebuild families in places around the communities where there is great need!

MARCIA ANN MIMS JUNIOR School FOR UNIVERSAL EXCELLENCE

The School is dedicated to Dr. Marcia Ann Mims Coppertino from USA

‘For Humanities, Education and Social Justice’

A First Step to Sustainability

In regions of extreme poverty, education may not be a priority, though it is an important first step along the path to sustainable independence. In fact, a least number of children ever attend school of any kind, and only 18 percent of children reach the fifth grade. Unsurprisingly, school attendance rates for girl orphans are significantly lower still.

Education provides children with important tools, resources and networks to succeed as adults. It is fundamental to raising well adjusted and productive citizens, able to enter adulthood with confidence, and the skills to take responsibility for future families of their own.

Leslie and Tonnie Girls Home of Hope children of 6-14 years are enrolled in the MARCIA ANN MIMS JUNIOR School FOR UNIVERSAL EXCELLENCE, expected to be one of the best private schools in Greater Masaka .Some girls have never attended, and many have missed school for extended periods, and so it is common to re-enter several grades below their age groups. However, most are expected to advance rapidly, and 89% of our children will perform at the best level.

Because we are active and involved parents, the MARCIA ANN MIMS JUNIOR School FOR UNIVERSAL EXCELLENCE now considers Mukungwe Sub-county citizens important and engaged partners. Through a fellowship/partnership we've established with the Dr. Marcia Ann Mims Coppertino from USA, Teachers will develop Humanities, Education and Social Justice Curriculum, collaborating with education officers and teachers.

KELLIE FRAZER KINDERGARTEN

Dedicated to Ms. Kellie Frazier in USA

If a community girl goes to school till she is 11, then she stands 12% chances of contracting HIV. If she doesn’t then the chances of her dying as a result of AIDS are 78%.

That breaks our hearts so it is sure as hell breaks God’s heart. This makes so many kids worthy joining kindergarten miss out because their daddies or moms are bedridden or dead and the relatives available can hardly afford the school requirements.

So at Kellie Frazier, we will build, staff, stock and manage a brilliant kindergarten of comfort to these suffering but lovely babies from 3-5 years. We expect teachers to educate these children in a motherly way. Faith and sanitation are some of the core areas to be handled among other outlined curriculum disciplines.

JEANETTE GRILS WELDING TRAINING CENTRE AND WORKSHOP

This training centre is dedicated to Pastor Jeanette Ljungars from Finland

Jeanette Girls Welding Training centre and Workshop aims at providing Vocational Training and business management skills to girl children that dropped out of school at early stages in rural communities. The beneficiaries, needy girls between 14 yrs and above, will mostly girl children from poverty, domestic violence hit homes of the communities.

The project is to be established in Mukungwe Sub-county at Mukungwe Village, Masaka District, This centre will be under Leslie and Tonnie Girls Home of Hope a residential rehabilitation home for underprivileged girl children and destitute women.

The initiative aims to bring life skills and dignity to the most deserving girl children, who will also receive appreciation from the local communities.

The project will caters to the most needy girl children with the defined criteria and recommended from their respective villages of origin.

This girls training centre will begin as soon as funds are made available to provide hands on welding education to enrolled needy girl children at no cost and for children in villages.

Other Vocational Training programs

This training centre will involve other proven training programs train girl children as well as adults from nearby villages in job oriented skills. All the training will be done in mother tongue i.e. Luganda so that training is made easy and lively. Other vocational skills training programs may include Carpentry, Plumbing, Electrical work, Leather work, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Mechanic, Beautician course, Tailoring & Embroidery and Baking.

NANCY WOMEN OF HOPE SELF HELP FUND

Dedicated to Nancy Venditti Mueller from USA

Providing financial services to the socio-economically deprived sections of the society

This Fund will be going forward with full dedication and honesty to achieve its aim of attaining 100% poverty eradication target. But we are still facing many huddles on our journey. We trust that after partner's strong and trusted support we will achieve sound results much faster. Today whatever success comes our way must be credited not only to Women and Girls Can Initiative but also to the members of the Fund that have now firmly held our hands together for continuity. It is our hope that the partner will give us the needful guidance as well as the help to sustain this challenging journey.

 

Women of Hope Self Help Fund began its journey in 2010. ‘WHSHF’ aims at providing financial services to the socio-economically deprived sections of our women of our society and enabling them to attain a better quality of life. This in turn helps them earn an attractive return on capital for its investors.

The current portfolio of 10,000,000 (Ten Million Uganda Shillings is got from within members without any external support since 2010. Each member of the Fund contributes 8000/= per month and it is put in the treasury and later loaned out for the least interest to enable the increase of capital.

The Fund covers areas like Mpugwe Trading centre, Kako, Matanga, Mpugwe village, Nsangamu etc.

This Fund is still informally run as we process the formal existence with hope that along the journey we shall get a great partner. We envision a women bank born out of this Fund. 

THE STANWICK HOPE AND HEALING COMMUNITY CLINIC

This Clinic is dedicated to Mr & Mrs. Annette Stanwick from Canada

Women and Girls Can Initiative plans to establish The Stanwick Hope and Healing Community Clinic under Leslie and Tonnie Girls Hope of Hope in partnership with any partner that will be secured.

The Stanwick Hope and Healing Community Clinic will be a medical care provider for HIV+ children and health related issues at Leslie and Tonnie Girls Home of Hope and its neighboring communities, all of whom are seen at The Stanwick Hope and Healing Community Clinic. There will be no charge for services to the children and little charge from the adults from the community neighboring The Stanwick Hope and Healing Community Clinic.

The Clinic will be a comprehensive center for the treatment and continued care of orphans and vulnerable children, and adult family members with HIV/AIDS other related health issues. In addition, the Family Health Clinic functions to prevent the increase of AIDS orphans by providing medical, social services and peer counseling support for families.

The Clinic will include an on-site pharmacy, testing and laboratory, all staffed by in-country professionals that will be helped by volunteers from within and outside Uganda.

SHUNTAI ARTISANS GUILD

This guild is dedicated to Ms.Shuntai Beagurd from USA

Many house wives, school dropout can easily acquire some skills and apply them to better their living conditions. They only miss the factor of encouragement and direction from elders or elite class. This is why Women and Girls Can Initiative plans to come up with Shuntai Artisans Guild to get poor and jobless house wives, girls together and get skills in craft making so that they can earn a living from their homes.

We shall later set up Shuntai Crafts Shop and seek partnership with local and international crafts or Artisans Company or organisation for market and quality products.

After sale, Women and Girls Can Initiative will earn 2o%, Shuntai Artisans Guild 20% and the owner of the craft worker will earn 60%.

A few ways you can help:
• Have your family member(s),friend(s),a friend (s)of  your  friend(s),client(s),spiritual leader(s) or business partner(s) contact us or our contact persons around the world. They can sponsor any of our programs by donating related materials, funds, carrying out fundraising drives, going on volunteering trips etc.

Voluntourism – Trips for Good

There’s no better way to travel than by immersing yourself in the culture. Voluntourism with Women and Girls Can Initiative allows you to do just that! You’ll have plenty of time to see the sights, make new friends, hang out with the locals; all while making a difference in the lives of kids who could really use some love and help. WaGCI can tailor your (or your group’s) trip based on your interests. We shall always try to establish lasting relationships with the locals, so your experience can be as authentic or touristy as you’d like.

Your volunteering times and activities can also be tailored to your interests or areas of expertise.

We shall customize a volunteering trip for you, your friends, family or group. We set everything up for you, from accommodations and transportation, to sight-seeing tours and volunteering times.

It is in plans of Women and Girls Can Initiative to partner with a national and International tourist company so that we can tap into the available expertise of tourists in construction of this Home.

When all goes to plan, for the reason sustainability, we shall have to start up our own tourist company so that we can get money from the tourist that can later help this Initiative’s program.

My prayer:

I pray to the Almighty God who handpicked you his servants to accept the requests made to you to join hands with us here. May the Lord of wisdom, provision and guidance continue binding us together so that we make the best He expects from us to give Glory to His Name. I know the devil is around to frustrate and take over but in the mighty name of Jesus I send it away from us and this mission. This is God driven mission with a divine connection that will live beyond us. May the heavenly Father keep us together always. Amen.

By Gertrude Nakintu

Founding Director

Women and Girls Can Initiative (WaGCI)

 

“We believe in ourselves”