Last year, a group from Texas came out to visit us here in Uganda and to spend some time in the communities. One of the group was kind enough to bring materials with her so that she could teach some of the mamas how to knit. They picked it up very quickly and enjoyed it so much that they had soon finished all the wool that had been brought! At this point many of the mamas involved said that they would love to continue and try to make a business out of it – so, a knitting group was formed.
A year later and it’s amazing to see how the group has grown from strength to strength and they have organised themselves, structuring the group by: nominating a leader; secretary; marketeer; treasurer and a mobiliser. They even managed to find a supplier of good quality wool in Kampala (a difficult task given the relatively small number of sheep in Uganda!) who they make orders through and have already made a fair profit with their products. They continue to learn new patterns and techniques which add to their skills and to the appeal of the items that they make. It is also good to see their willingness to re-invest some of the money that they earn back into the business.
One of the most exciting and encouraging aspects of the group is the way that the mamas have bonded together; growing friendships and relationships in a way that would likely not have happened otherwise. We have seen them help each other in learning new knitting techniques but also support each other in discipleship and through personal difficulties and hardship. Only a month ago one of the mamas was going through severe domestic violence, her husband even threatening to kill her and disowning his children. Afraid for her life and the lives of her children, she left her house without a clear plan of where to go. The knitting group got together and used money from their profits to provide for her. One of the members even took her and the children in to her own small house until she was able to find a new place of her own!
Who’d have thought that knitting blankets and bags could bring so much good? It just shows that when people get together, change can happen!