The Namuwongo Women and Youth Group
Over the last two decades, the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda has killed some 12,000 people, and kidnapped between 25,000 and 66,000 children for sex slaves and child soldiers. Two million Ugandans have had to flee their homes in the countryside due to this violence. Forced from their farms, many flee to Kampala, Uganda’s capital city, seeking a new way to make a living. Many are women with children to feed, and they are often also supporting the children of family members who were killed in the violence, or died of AIDS or malaria.
While in Uganda in 2007, Open Door Project Uganda director Rose Carmen Goldberg met a group of these women living in Namuwongo, one of Kampala’s shantytown slums. They were learning to survive by making and selling jewelry. They first make the beads out of magazine pages, and then string the jewelry. The group which oversees production of the beads is a registered non-profit called Namuwongo Women and Youth Group, started in 2002. It is an affiliate of Network Association of Youth Organisations in Uganda (NAYOU). NAYOU works for youth advocacy through training, networking, and awareness campaigns, especially on human rights, empowerment, poverty eradication, lobbying, capacity building, and many other issues. International partners include the National Youth Council of Sweden (LSU) and the United Nations Department of Economic Affairs based in New York.
Through their jewelry sales over the past two years, the Namuwongo Women and Youth Group was able to save enough money to start a business raising and selling chickens and eggs. Their next plan is to purchase motorcycles for use as “boda-bodas,” or motorcycle taxis, popular as relatively cheap transport in Uganda. Rose suggested that the jewelry might be successfully sold in the United States. Open Door Project Uganda is pleased to offer for sale the lovely handmade jewelry of the Namuwongo Women and Youth Group. At present we are able to sell the jewelry in person in Seattle. E-mail us for more information.