Dear Friends,We hope this letter finds you well, and trust that 2007 has been a happy and healthy year for you and yours?
It certainly has been an extraordinary year for WOMA, and we would like to thank you wholeheartedly for your continued support, as the charity grows from strength to strength.
Once again you have excelled in raising money through personal donations and sponsored events. Many people have generously given up their precious free time training for marathons, half marathons and cycling events.
We also held an excellent fund-raising evening in May at The London Lighthouse. The cross-cultural mood was set by our resident DJ Ritu spinning her unique blend of world music tunes in the ambient surroundings which our friends at the Terrence Higgins Trust generously made available to us.
It was a chance to mingle and mix with friends, and give you an update on WOMA’s activities. For those of you who weren’t able to attend, you missed a great night, but don’t worry – there will be another one in 2008!!
Karen has just returned from Kampala , where she was able to personally review the progress being made on our training programmes.
The most rewarding news comes from our tailoring trainees.
One of them – “Alice” – has been hired by Action Aid to take her skills to rural Uganda, to mentor other women there who are unable to access training programmes. She has finished building her house in Lubugumu on the outskirts of Kampala , and can finally send her children to school.
“Martha” who completed her training a little over a year ago, has been commissioned to make the furnishings for a neighbour’s home and has high ambitions of one day setting up a tailoring institute in her village for Aids orphans.
Our catering trainees have also done us proud, none more so than 29 year old Brenda, who was one of the women who attended the Jimmy Sekasi catering institute in Kampala earlier this year. She took up a loan with a micro financing firm once she completed the course, and now runs a modest restaurant near her home. Her speed at setting up a business is largely thanks to the practical administrative skills the catering course taught her, alongside basic cooking and hygiene skills.
Over the next year, WOMA is planning to expand the number of women it is able to take on for training. We are exploring the possibility of bringing women down from the civil war affected north of Uganda to undertake training, and are trying to make contact with micro-financing firms to help the women set up their own small businesses once they’ve completed their training.
Many of them have sewing machines on loan, which they hope to be able to purchase as their first piece of “business capital”.
We are also close to setting up training programmes in the slums of Kenya , and are currently in discussions with a group of nuns who work closely with women and children affected by HIV /Aids. We will keep you posted on this in the coming months.
Over the next year a priority for WOMA will be to update our WEBSITE.
We are currently looking for a business sponsor to help support this. The site is one of our most important tools for minimising our carbon footprint – by enabling us to reach out to our supporters electronically, and bring them closer to the women who benefit from their donations. If any of who can help us find a suitable sponsor, please let us know!
Finally, you can expect to see a new WOMA DVD on the website very soon. You’ll meet the women who’ve completed their training, get a flavour of the conditions in which they live, and see how you are helping to transform their lives.
Please remember that it is now possible to make regular monthly donations via our WOMA website (www.womatrust.org) and the “justgiving” facility www.justgiving.com/woma.
Your pennies are working harder than ever for the women of Africa , so please don’t stop your valued support.
Take care, and as the Swahili phrase goes “Asante Sana” (Thank you) from the girls at WOMA! We also have some sad news – one of WOMA’s earliest supporters, Mike Donkin, died at the end of last year. Mike was an enthusiastic and generous supporter of our work. We will miss him, and would like to send our sincere sympathies to his widow Catriona and their family