Meet Stella. She is 49 years old and comes from Kikigati. She birthed 11 children of who 7 are still alive, and has 1 grandchild - 5 others have died. She has been a widow since 2000. Stella is Coordinator of the three widows groups in Kikigati, involved with them in the gardens, in meetings and with other activities. She tells me that the widows meet monthly, and each one brings 1,000 shillings to the meeting (about 65 cents). The names of those present are put into a bag, and the person whose name is drawn from the bag, can buy whatever they want - a lantern, plates, a dress. I met Stella in 2007, and had her old sewing machine repaired for her and gave her a new one (the old one was in such bad repair that I didn't really believe she could sew with it). Since then, she has taught 8 others to sew on a treadle, but they have only repaired old clothing, having no new cloth to sew. Stella lives in a house with a leaking roof, and has to move the sewing machines around during the rains so that they don't get wet. We have asked Perez to look into the cost of either new roofing, or if the house is in bad repair, new housing. Stella is one determined lady, and has already shown that she has the capacity to teach others. We want to support this fine lady in her efforts.
Anna is 38 and from Rubingo, widowed in 1998 and raising her three children on her own, plus a niece who is an orphan. Her oldest child, Saphan, has completed P-7, but there are no funds for him to continue on to Secondary School. Yesterday we told Anna that we would find the funds for Saphan to continue, and he will join Barbra at Bugamba Secondary School, where he had already been accepted. First he must purchase a mattress, sheets, a basin, towel, file folders, an identity card, and other miscellaneous items. We will help Anna do that in town before she returns to her village at the end of the week. There is also a uniform to be purchased. She was extremely happy when we gave her the news, as were Knight and Kamida, both of whom have sons who are to be sponsored by a very generous Canadian who saw their story in this blog. Isaac will learn mechanics, specializing in motorcycles, and Swabu will learn building skills.