2009 was a great year for Hope 4 Women International!
In March my sister Joan and I arrived in Uganda armed with pillowcases, bias tape, elastic, and sewing supplies. We taught the women at Smile Africa Ministries how to make pillowcase dresses on treadle sewing machines. We then turned the women loose to create their own designs of the pillowcases. We chose to carry pillowcases because they are light and easy to carry and pillowcase dresses are an easy item for the women to learn to sew.
In July, Wendy Stokes represented Hope 4 Women and helped us distribute eighteen sewing machines for seven villages in Uganda. She also helped Hope 4 Women distribute pillowcases and supplies to these groups.
Women are so eager to learn to sew they will sew on paper if no fabric is available.
In November I returned to Uganda with the Hope 4 Kids team. Hope 4 women provided eight more sewing machines to villages. We gifted a women’s group in Fort Portal two sewing machines and paid three months rent toward a shop so they are able to sew items and sell them from their shop. We decided with these women that they would be self-sufficient in this program within three months.
We daily visited villages, donating sewing machines to women's groups and teaching them to sew on the spot.
In 2009 we distributed a total of 700 pillowcases and supplies to Uganda and held a number of sewing classes teaching different groups to make pillowcase dresses.
We began over 1500 victory gardens throughout Uganda and distributed over 400 garden hoes to women. Team members Hum & Donnie Ybarra purchased 300 hoes and Mae Jackson purchased 100.
See the previous blog for an extensive report on the Victory Gardens.We purchased hundreds of dollars of hand-crafts from the women of Uganda. Crafts included necklaces, bracelets, earrings, slippers, totes, baskets, and drums. We sold many of these items at our two art shows and through individual craft sales and house parties. The initial purchases in Uganda went directly to the women who crafted the items. The profits made here in the United States go back into the program allowing us to once again purchase crafts from the women and to keep sustaining their work.
Our goal in 2010 is to expand our support of handcrafts to other countries. We want to purchase sewing machines in Romania, India, Peru, & Rwanda and teach women to make over-the-shoulder bags using their local fabrics. We will continue to teach pillowcase dresses/clothing and will work with the women of each country on items that will sell in their local areas as well as in the United States.
Hope 4 Women International plans to set up an online store in 2010.
In October of 2009 Hope 4 Women International launched our Dress a Girl Around the World program. http://www.dressagirlaroundtheworld.com Since it’s introduction groups sprang up in sixteen states to create pillowcase dresses for girls around the world. Within two months we distributed 313 dresses to Uganda, the Congo, and Honduras. We tucked 25 dresses into Samaritan’s Purse Shoe Boxes and donated dresses to a local Angel Tree Program.
Our goal for 2010 is to personally take dresses to India, Peru, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Romania, Russia and more. Since we imagined a world where every girl has a least one dress we offer other organizations our dresses to distribute. We ask in return that they photograph the distributions for Hope 4 Women’s Dress a Girl Program.
Dress a Girl Around the World and Water 4 Kids International http://www.w4ki teamed up after Jennie O’Hara, a talented artist who donates her work to Hope 4 Women, painted this painting of a little girl in her pillowcase dress, clutching a prayer doll (found in the pocket of her pillowcase dress)—collecting water at a newly drilled well—a gift from Water 4 Kids International. We now are asking churches, individuals, clubs, etc who are sponsoring a well to ask their members to make pillowcase dresses for girls who will be drinking at that well. When we dedicate the well we will distribute the dresses made by those involved in that well’s sponsorship.
We also launched a Women sponsorship program this year. For $36 a month a woman will be placed in a program teaching her to become a successful business woman. If you scroll down the blog you will see our sponsorship program in detail.
Fatuma is in a sponsorship program in Uganda. She had leprosy at an early age and lost her fingers and toes to the disease. When we met her she had no skills and survived by begging in the streets. She now is the proud owner of a turkey business. She is so proud to be a business owner and when Pastor Ruth, the overseer of the sponsorship program invited women to her home for a Christmas tea Fatuma kept reminding her she needed to get home to care for her turkeys.
In 2010 Hope 4 Women will expand the sponsorship program to empower more businesswomen as well as to aid those elderly widows who have no one to care for their medical, physical and spiritual needs.
We served 100’s of women at our tea party/spas where the women receive an afternoon of pampering with foot washings, nail polish, colorful headscarves and practical gifts.
Along with sponsoring day spas we sponsored hundreds of women in business start-ups from donating garden seeds, to purchasing wholesale charcoal for women to retail; sponsored soap making projects--liquid and bar soap (see blog about Catherine's soap making); purchased sewing machines for individuals whom have graduated from Smile Africa's tailoring course; helped women start road side hot food and produce stands--to name a few.
In 2010 Bonnie from Wisconsin will be in Uganda for three months to teach women English, reading and arithmetic. Watch for updates from her.
Hope 4 Women International held two art shows in 2009. Generous and talented artists throughout the United States donated their work and the fabulous Blue Daddy band traveled from LA to perform. Venues were provided by the Shops at Norterra in North Phoenix and Jazzy's in Prescott. The proceeds funded women empowerment projects in Uganda.
We look forward to more art show/musical fundraisers in 2010.
Coming in 2010: our online store selling artist prints as well as handcrafts created by the women we serve.
Anna & Her Sisters
a novel by
Rachel Eggum Cinader
To receive our brochures and other information about Hope 4 Women International please contact Rachel@h4ki.org