A couple months ago, Mama Penina, the leader of the Moru church in Arua that we attend, asked if our ministry would parter with the church in helping to train some of the Moru women in Arua in craft making. This project was going to entail purchasing supplies from Kampala and hiring teachers to come and train the women in the specific skills. The purpose of this venture was to provide the women here with a skill they can use to make money to help sustain their families. As I have posted before, most of the Moru refugees here in Arua are women who stay with their children alone while their husbands are still in South Sudan. Most of the husbands have lost their jobs due to the most recent conflict in South Sudan and have not been able to send money consistently to help sustain their families. The women are constantly struggling to find money to pay rent, school fees, and buy food for their children. So, a project like this is huge in helping the women support their children while their husbands are away trying to find work.
The training started last week and the women meet twice a week to learn the skills and work on their items together. The first thing they learned to make were purses. The purses are made with beads and then will be lined with cotton material on the inside. The teacher taught them to do many different designs of beadwork for the bags. After the women learn the skill of making the purses, they will move on to small pocketbooks, jewelry, sandals (with designs) and then they will learn to sew designs on bedsheets and napkins.
One thing I absolutely love about this culture is how community-oriented they are in everything they do. In America, it seems like we would learn a skill and then go off to the privacy of our own homes and work on things alone. Here, they learn the skill together and then they gather together to work on the projects as a group.
We had the privilege of visiting the group today while they were working. Everyone was gathered under a huge mango tree and were working on their individual bags while conversing with each other and helping each other as needed. The teacher was available and each woman would go up to her for guidance and advice occasionally. It was such a great picture of community!
Here are some pictures from the day:
We are so grateful that these women have this opportunity to help support their families. After they sell the items they make, they have a business plan to use some of the profit to purchase more supplies so they can keep making more items to sell. Please pray this would be a fruitful way for the women to help sustain their families.