New spring collection in our shop

Well, spring has sprung (we hope!) and we wanted to share some great news with you…

We have a wonderful new spring collection of handmade, ethical and eco goodies for you and your home in our shop.

>>Click to visit our shop now>> 

From gorgeous, cuddly pram blankets, super colourful sun tops, dapper gents scarves and bright, eco cushions covers and table runners  – each of our products has a story behind – the story of the wonderful woman who made it and the child whose life has been transformed because you’ve brought it.

As you may remember we use all our profit to children orphaned by HIV in the slums of Kampala. One of the ways we do this is with education grants that help children like Fiona Nakazwe, 10. 

Here is a little film we made with Fiona and her adopted grandmother Sarah, so they can tell you for themselves how awamu is changing their lives. 

Fiona’s mother died some years ago and she was living with her father, tragically he also became very ill and Fiona had to drop out of school to care for him before he passed away last year. Distant relatives then took her to live in a village outside Kampala, leaving her friends and all connections to her parents behind.

Her relatives didn’t want to pay for her to go to school and she was being used a domestic servant – digging all day in the fields, looking after other children, cooking, fetching water and only eating if there was some food left over. 

Luckily, Sarah Kanyike (widower and guardian of 10 grand children) had been friends with Fiona’s parents and when she went to attend the funeral she saw that Fiona looked ill and was very unhappy “I could see these people just wanted to use her for fetching water. I decided to bring her to become one of my family of 10 to make it 11. She calls me grandmother, because the rest of my family also calls me grandma. She was welcomed here by my family – I told them ‘she is one of you”.

Your awamu purchase has helped Fiona to enrol in primary school where she is now excelling..

Fiona told me “Ja-ja (grandma) Sarah takes me as her real family, I’m happy because I’m now one of the family. The day I was going to start school I woke up early and started to get dressed – then grandma told me ‘what are you doing – it’s only 4.30 – school won’t open for another 4 hours’ but I couldn’t go back to sleep I was too excited”.

There are now 66 children enrolled in primary school thanks to the education programme we run in partnership with ActionAid Uganda. 

On behalf of Fiona, Sarah and all teh children and women we work with in Kampala – Thank you xX

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Christmas gifts that change lives…

tom

Tom was ecstatic when he was able to enroll in school

We’ve just added even more gifts in our shop with prices starting from as little as £3!

Whether you’re buying for a favourite aunt or a hard-to-buy-for friend, you know you are making a real difference when you buy from awamu because you are also giving a wonderful gift of education to orphaned children like Tom in the slums of Kampala.

Tom was ecstatic when he found out his dream of enrolling in school would finally come true. Here is a little film we made with Tom and his Aunty so they can tell you for themselves how awamu is changing their lives.

Watch film now>> it’s only a few minutes long – we hope you will enjoy it.

£3 for a trio of African Wax fabric badges

£4 hang your own little treats on the tree palm leaf mini gift bags

£5 adopt a Zebra (or a whole heard!)

£7 -9 Purses and bags to help you organise your life!

£8 fill you stockings with a  rainbow of recycled paper beads

£14-£18 Add colour and comfort to your sofa

It’s cloudy and it is raining: update from Bwaise, Kampala

Report in pictures by Ronah Buwembo, aged 8  (Bwaise, Kampala)

Meet Jaliya & ‘Ja-Ja’ Regina

This makes us immensely happy – meet Jaliya’s and ‘jaja’ Regina

Meet Jaliya and ‘jaja’ Regina and see how we are helping to change the lives of children in the slums of Kampala

I just opened my email to find this picture (above) of Jaliya and news that she is studying hard for next round for exams that are coming up very soon.

This makes us immensely happy – and is giving me a great reason to share this little film we made with you today so you can see just how your support is changing the lives of children in Kampala.

Please, please watch it. If it makes you feel half as proud as I do right now, it’ll make your day too. And when you’re done, please share it with everyone you know – through twitterfacebookyoutube – to spread the word about awamu and help us to change even more lives for the better.

Jaliya is the inspiration behind awamu. You may recall that Jaliya suffered extreme neglect at the hands of her uncle when she was sent to live with him following the death of both of her parents from AIDS. She was just seven years old.

Fearing she too had the illness and may “contaminate” his children, she was kept in isolation in a tiny hut, barely big enough for her to stand in. Little Jaliya slept alone each night on a sack and was forbidden to play with her cousins, go to school or even touch the family’s possessions.

After hearing reports of a sick child, Regina – a member of the Tusitukirewamu Women’s Group – and our heroine, found Jaliya half-starved with a swollen tummy and coughing up blood.

Regina pledged there and then to look after Jaliya, offer her the love and comfort she so desperately craved and nurse her back to health. Although she knew it would be a struggle, she found a place in her home for her alongside the 10 other children in her care who’d also lost their parents to AIDS related illnesses.

Five years on, Jaliya is a healthy and happy 11-year-old. She’s doing well in school, she plays with her friends and brothers and sisters and, most importantly she has the love of a grandmother (or ‘ja-ja’) from Regina. A love that is so obviously reciprocated.

And this is thanks to you and your support of awamu. 100% of your donations and proceeds from your purchases go to support orphaned children like Jaliya, in the slums of Kampala and the wonderful, selfless women that take them into their care.

We help to train women in the communities in income generating schemes so they can earn a living to support themselves and their extended families.

And we support networks of women who have been similarly affected by HIV who give their time and energy to helping the most vulnerable in their communities. They walk the street of the slums, seeking out children and adults in need of their support. They encourage them to confront their fears, navigate the medical system and offer care and protection to those who are too weak to look after themselves or their families.

With very few overheads (the cost of website/the materials we buy for our products) a little goes a long way…

£243  could cover the cost of skills training for one woman over two years

£42 could help us refurbish the women’s groups old sewing machines

£139 could buy a new sewing machine

£59 could buy a school uniform, schools fees, books and pens

£16 could buy a good pair of school shoes

£69 could provide small loan to help a guardian start a small business that will help them feed their family

£22 (the equivalent of one summer dress) could cover the cost of school fees for one term

£483 could cover the school for seven years

£62 could buy warm clothing, mosquito net, mattresses, school uniform and scholastic materials for one child

£613 could support one child through seven years of Primary Education and a small start up loan so their guardian can earn enough money to feed their family

So thank you for every gift you have bought from us. for every share on facebook and twitter, every donation and, most importantly, every encouraging word you have given us.

Sarah Namaganda shows you how to make her recycled paper beads

Sarah Namaganda shows you how to make her recycled paper beads….

You can buy Sarah’s necklaces in our shop

There is a massive problem with rubbish in the slums of Bwaise and Makerer as the goverment privatised collection and families can’t afford to pay for it to be taken away.

When there is heavy rain Bwaise and Makerer floods, rubbish gets washed into water channels that over flow and runs through peoples houses.

The women’s groups we work with are trying to find creative ways to recycle what is around them.

By buying these beads or any of our beautifully products you will be helping Sarah and the women we work with earn an income from there craft as well as helping them to change the lives of the most vulnerable children in their community me.

Each of Sarah’s necklaces are individual and unique – please take a look.

Sarah cares for 6 children (not 16 as she says in the video – lost in translation). Her own daughter and five adopted children including her niece Delphine.

Though she supports many more orphaned children in the community.

They live in small small hut made from corrugated iron and mud and with two people to a single bunk bead.

All of the children she looks after are in school she told us “I make these beads so my children can go to school. Education is everything , my children must go to school so they can all have better lives than this“.

 
 
Many thanks to Josie Gallo for editing my shoddy footage!

Video: London to Paris – the movie!

Awamu – London to Paris Ride by Stefan Goodchild

Our team mate Stefan has just just finished editing this small film of our EPIC London to Paris adventure in August.

13 (lovely) people cycled nearly 180 miles over three days through unseasonal rain and wind, we had twelve punctures (two within 20 minutes!) and raised over £15,000 which will support 20 orphaned children like Sentongo and Nagawa in Kampala, enabling them to complete their primary education.

What do you think – fancy joining us on our next challenge in 2012??

Get in touch if you do.

Big thanks and love to Team Awamu: Stefan (filming and cycling!), Kerry, Ian, Tim, Amy, Ben, David, Sam, Joe, Anna, Bernat and Steve (and Emma)….and EVERYONE that sponsored us, came to our events, bought our cakes and took part on our raffles.

Bring on the next challenge!