Friends of St. Michael’s Girls Primary School Busembatia Uganda

The Okwasa Project

Okwasa - To light a fire (Lugandan)

Our charity was formed to specifically support St. Michael’s school. As it has developed and grown we have become more and more aware of the real poverty in the village. Many of our day girls come to school with no exercise books or pencils – some do not wear pants. So over the coming year we will be listening to the villagers and speaking to their leaders to see how we can support them so that they can receive training and encouragement to start up income generating businesses.

We are calling our Outreach Work in the Community – the Okwasa Project One of the fledgling ventures is for a women’s group in the community, many with children at St. Michael’s, to make crafts for us to sell in the UK. The school is in a remote area far away from the popular tourist sights in Uganda, therefore there is little or no culture of making crafts to sell. So we are starting at a fairly low level of expertise. We buy the crafts at a fair price from the women and then sell them back in the UK and the profit we give back to the group. No money is taken for the charity. We are working hard to ensure that the women understand the standard that they must try and get to. We will be taking some women to a very well established craft shop in Jinja (2hrs away) during the next visit so that they can see the standard that is expected, and for them to pick up ideas.

These women are mostly subsidence farmers with little or no income, many widowed or deserted. We are hopeful that if we can continue and develop this project, as the income will benefit the women and of course the children at St. Michael’s.