Weaving a Future
NAWOU and Uganda Crafts
Produced by Natural Light Films
To see Ten Thousand Villages products handcrafted by Uganda Crafts, visit: http://www.tenthousandvillages.com/catalog/product.list.php?cart_artisan_id=29
To see products handcrafted by NAWOU, visit: http://www.tenthousandvillages.com/catalog/artisan.detail.php?artisan_id=28
Women artisans at Uganda Crafts and NAWOU ar...e weaving a future for themselves and their families by making colorful baskets to sell in Uganda and to export customers around the world.
Betty Kinene, who has a physical disability, started Uganda Crafts in order to provide employment for disabled people, widows, unemployed youth and orphans. Uganda Crafts is an organization managed by disadvantaged people that helps disadvantaged people. The majority of the artisans are either people who are disabled, widowed or young. Uganda Crafts markets crafts for the artisans and provides training in quality control, design and marketing. The organization also owns a retail store that provides employment for people with physical disabilities. Uganda Crafts employs approximately 300 artisans in five workshops or cooperatives, 85 percent of them women.
NAWOU specializes in finding work for women who are living with AIDS. NAWOU, the National Association of Women Organisations in Uganda, works with more than 80 independent women's groups located throughout Uganda. In addition to health care, social welfare, lobbying and advocacy, microfinance and education programs, NAWOU runs a handicraft program. Each group is responsible for production, quality control and transportation to Kampala. All crafts are based on traditional skills and products; natural dyes are also used. NAWOU helps with local and export marketing of the handicrafts. Through NAWOU, artisans receive loans, training, counseling, links to aid agencies and assistance with medication. NAWOU encourages microlending with the urban poor in Kampala. NAWOU does public education on HIV/AIDS, a significant problem in Uganda.
Many of the women producing baskets for NAWOU are infected with HIV/AIDS, and income from basket weaving provides a lifeline of support for them. Both groups are helping otherwise unemployed women to earn an income so they can provide for their own family and send their children to school. Many of the women work at home and they enjoy being able to do this. Betty Kinene at Uganda Crafts comments that being able to work at home and earn a decent income make for a happy home. Both NAWOU and Uganda Crafts use basket making as a way to give otherwise unemployed women the chance to earn an income while being able to do the work from home.
In the video, you will see Dorothy Nabakiibi, who is an artisan at Uganda Crafts, is shown dyeing raffia palm fibers and collecting banana leaves for basket making. Dorothy demonstrated basket weaving at Ten Thousand Villages national workshops in 2005. In 2006 the Ten Thousand Villages learning tour visited Dorothy at her home about an hour's drive outside of Kampala (the capital of Uganda). She was extremely pleased to have us visit and very proud of the new home that she and her friend had just built. They actually made their own clay bricks and made their own house. Dorothy, a widow, told us that making baskets for Uganda Crafts had truly turned her life around and had given her hope for the future.
The women basket makers at Uganda Crafts and NAWOU are weaving a future for themselves and their families. They believe their basket weaving is making happy homes and providing bright hope for the future.