All of the ladies and their families that we minister to live in the Kiseego slums bordering Kampala, the country's Capital City. Their homes start from a cardboard shelter to a dirt floor brick room. The term "Slum lord" is a very real thing. They still have to pay rent and these slums flood every year. Trash and waste are everywhere and they don't have access to running water, just muddy well water. If they have the money, they can buy running water and carry it home in a Jerrycan, but only a few can.
Needless to say, life is hard. Very hard. They spend all of their energy trying to earn enough to pay rent and food. Most need a sponsor to pay school fees for their children or they don't go to school. There are a lot of ministries that get sponsors for kids, but the family still suffers. We help as much as we can but at the moment we only have a few sponsors and supporters.
Justine, our founder works tirelessly with our family, to help where we can. We provide manual Singer sewing machines (yes they still make them) to our ladies. A few are allowed to take them home but most come to our little compound to sew, make jewelry, baskets, mats, etc. You can find some in our shop. When I am there, we go to each woman's home and look at her wares. Whatever we buy from them, we give them their asking price. This helps us both and they are very happy to see us coming. I also let them know what would sell well and they have time to make more before I leave. We then try to sell them and return the money right back to the ministry for operating costs. There are no salaries, no overhead, and I pay for my own travel and lodging expenses.
Now it's time to present our plan. We purchased 3 acres of gorgeous land and have developed a program that will help our ladies to eventually be able to purchase their own land and build a small house. These 3 acres will be our "Farm". We have already built a fence and gate for the protection of our animals and crops and dug a well. This well was dug by hand, 66 feet and the water is pure to drink without boiling.
We are building 6 small homes all together in a horseshoe shape. We will invite 6 families in the most need to move into one of these houses, a mother and her children. They will need to understand the program and agree to it. We have a detailed contract to go over with them to make sure they understand and are willing to commit to the community for 3-5 years. We will have an outdoor kitchen where they can cook together and eat together if they would like and a covered area for making their crafts, socializing, and worshipping together. Daily Bible studies, classes to ensure women are changed in their way of living, both spiritually and physically, and to ensure a clean and healthy environment.
Our goal is to help the families become self-sufficient and to own their own land and build a home on it for future generations. When the program is complete then we will give them the money we have held for them with interest, so that they can start their new lives. They can buy and build anywhere they want, or they can stay in the village and we will provide land to buy at cost.
These families will work the land, planting, and harvesting. We are growing vegetables, a grove of fruits trees, and goats, chickens, geese, pigs, rabbits and cows for breeding and milk. We also hire local villagers to help us with the harvest.
The families will have all of their living needs met with food and shelter. They will also receive a monthly salary for their efforts and dedication. We will give the mother 20% of this salary to use as they wish and then we are holding 80% in a bank account for the family. Once the program is finished we will return this money to the family, and they will have enough to buy their own piece of land and build a small house on it, and then we can bring another family in.