It is that time of year again when we give you an update on what we have been doing over the past year, inform you of how our WOMA trainees are getting on and look forward to future events.
2015 marks WOMA’s 10th birthday and we very much hope you will join us for some of the celebrations.
Six more women completed their tailoring training in Uganda in April 2014 and a further six have been recruited and began their studies in September this year. We are currently recruiting for the Kenya programme and hope to have one or two students in training at the Buru Buru Institute of Fine Art in Nairobi, by the start of next year.
Judith Twikirize from Kampala is typical of many of the women who completed the course this year. She told us that not only is she now running her own tailoring business from a small kiosk not far from her home, but she is also being taken far more seriously by her community because of her new status as a businesswoman and is playing an active role in making decisions about the future. There are still challenges in trying to gain access to capital but she now feels far more confident in navigating her way through the world of business than she previously did, thanks to the entrepreneurial skills she acquired on the course. In the picture below Judith is displaying one of the shirts she made for a neighbour.
Syliva Namuganga told us that since learning to become a tailor (something she previously believed was impossible) her life has been transformed. She started her own business in June making shirts, shorts and children’s clothes for the local market. All the profits go into a piggy bank in her home but like many of her contemporaries she is in the process of opening a savings account. That is important because it gives her control of her own funds and financial decision-making in a community where often women have no say. Her two children have completed their schooling and Sylvia hopes to be able to pass on the tailoring skills she has learnt to a younger generation.
Many, but not all the women trained by WOMA are HIV+ and the feedback we have received from the vast majority of them is that their confidence and self-esteem has improved. WOMA does not distinguish between HIV infected and HIV affected women but integrating them further into their community and promoting HIV/AIDS awareness and education, is an important part of WOMA’s philosophy.
Maria Nakazibwe has carried on the family tradition of tailoring and got the blessing of her father who has now passed on the family sewing machine into her safekeeping. We have come across a number of these “legacy” stories from the women who have been trained. The skills they’ve acquired are being passed on from generation to generation and the income generated from small businesses is now making it possible to send their children to school.
Nora and Karen intend to visit to our projects in Uganda and Kenya over the course of next year and look at possibilities for expanding WOMA’s reach.
Fundraising has continued apace, despite the harsh economic environment but it has also been a difficult year filled with a sense of loss.
Peter Brook, Nora Dennehy’s husband who many of you will remember for his herculean efforts to raise money for WOMA, and his inimitable wit and energy at our popular music events, lost his battle against cancer earlier this year. It was a tremendous blow to the entire WOMA family and to Nora and Peter’s children in particular. Peter was WOMA’s No 1 fundraiser and as a tribute, Nora’s niece Frances and her husband James and friend, Liana, committed to cycling the 100k Isle of Wight Randonnee that Peter traditionally participated in. They raised a phenomenal £7,730!
For a small charity like WOMA that is an enormous sum and we would like to say a big thank you to Fran, James and Liana and Peter’s friends and colleagues who gave so generously.
We hope that our friends and supporters will follow suit and consider WOMA as a dedicated charity, if you are participating in a sponsored event. We can provide T–shirts and other WOMA branded goods and of course can help to promote your event via our Facebook and Twitter sites.
Plans are in place to host a major fundraising gig at the Purcell rooms at the Royal Festival Hall in London on 6th July. It will be WOMA’s tenth anniversary and it will be a very special musical occasion.
We would urge you to save the date and will send out more details nearer the time.
Once again we would ask you to consider making regular donations to WOMA, which enable us to plan and be more efficient in the way that we use our funds. We are too small to be allowed to set up direct debits from your account but a regular standing order would go a long way to helping us stay afloat as costs continue to rise. At present it costs £500 pounds to put a woman through tailoring school and given the way the lives of these women and their children are being transformed, we believe it is a small price to pay to make such a big change.
HOW TO DONATE
If you would like to make a donation or set up a standing order our bank details are as follows:
Account Name: World of Music & Arts Assists (WOMA)
Account Number 50128678 Sort Code 20-44-86
Or you can donate via our Justgiving page
Thank you so much for your support and generosity; with your help we have already transformed the lives of many women through our training projects. We may be a small charity but we have big hearts and we can assure you that the money you donate to WOMA benefits our women directly.
All the very best to you for Christmas and the New Year and thank you once more….
Debbie, Karen and Nora (WOMA)