Thousands of individuals have been helped by the projects TAO UK funds. To date much of our work has been in partnership with a Ugandan organisation, UWESO (Uganda Women’s Efforts to Save Orphans). Here are just a few of the life-changing stories.
Grandfather Ephraim Katungwesi who lives in the Lyandtonde district of Uganda is responsible for his two orphaned grandchildren. This was his story.
“…I was selected by UWESO [TAO’s partner in this project] extension staff in 2007. They trained me how to rear goats, organic farming and compost making. After two months of training, they called me at the sub-county office and they gave me a spade and a wheel barrow which I use to collect compost materials for my banana plantation.
“They gave me 2 goats and vegetable seeds. The goats kidded twice and as of now they have multiplied to 7 goats.
“I planted cabbages and carrots in my small garden and my family ate vegetables throughout the year. I sold vegetables, both carrots and cabbages and I collected Shs. 35,000 [about £9] within the two seasons.
“I made compost manure out of 3 pits, which I use in my plantation. The land improved in soil fertility compared to the previous time when I had not yet joined UWESO, when the crops harvested were poor and with stunted growth.
In the half acre [of banana plantation], I managed to harvest 40 bunches of matoke (green bananas) in this season which I sold at 4,000 shillings (£1) each and got 160,000 shillings (about £40). Most of the matoke were eaten by my family.
“Together with my fellow beneficiaries [7 other households], we formed a group at Buyanja Twetungure. That group helped me very much. We formed a cash round scheme where we collect money at the end of every week and we give the money collected to one of us to settle his or her problem. The money I got from the cash round helped me to pay schools fees, buy clothes and books for my orphans.
“Every week, UWESO staff monitor my home and also advise me where I am not performing well – like trenches in my banana plantation were few, but now I have more because they keep on visiting me.
“I would like to thank UWESO for having opened my eyes in agriculture production because now I bought 3 more goats from the money I got from banana plantations and vegetables. Everyday I have cabbages and carrots at my home for eating.”
In his early 40s, Adonia Kweyungas looked after six children, five his own and one the daughter of a brother who died in 1990.
After attending a TAO agro-forestry training project run by our partner UWESO, Adonia decided to start a tree nursery bed. Through UWESO he was given land by the sub-county. UWESO trained him to raise seedlings and then gave him seeds (eucalyptus, grevillea, coffee and local fruit), polythene tubes for potting, and nursery materials such as watering cans and jerrycans.
During his first season Adonia raised more than 8,000 tree seedlings. He gave away 5,000 seedlings to UWESO needy families and sold 3,000 seedlings to some members of the community to get money for maintaining the project. As his experience grew, Adonia increased his seedling survival rate to 12,000 seedlings per season.
Adonia also received training on sustainable farming and planted his plot with crops such as sugar cane, improved sweet potatoes, and vegetables. He sells the sweet potato vines, sugarcane, and vegetables, and he extracts vegetable seeds for sale. Adonia also started a grocery shop for his wife to sell sugarcanes and vegetables from the nursery.
Adonia now earns nearly £260 each season from the sales-of the products. He has been able to afford to send the children to school, renovate his house, and says that his family enjoys improved nutrition and better family cohesiveness.
Adonia has also helped other local farmers to establish 18 further woodlots. His hard work was rewarded by the awarding of three more plots of land.
In her mid-40s Grace Aceng was a widow with 3 orphans and 3 other dependants. UWESO – TAO’s partner – helped Grace in a number of ways.
Firstly, Grace joined a UWESO organised village loans and saving scheme. Her first year of savings helped her send two of her orphans to school and the other to a vocational institute.
UWESO also gave her agricultural training, teaching her techniques such as how graft fruit trees and how to compost waste matter and use liquid manure to fertilize – organically – crops. They provided other inputs, such as seeds and simple farming tools, and helped Grace purchase a plot of land, enabling her to generate income through farming. Grace was also able to open her own pine tree nursery and sell seedlings.
Through the income she generated Grace was able to complete her four roomed house.
Grace Aceng has sent great appreciation to UWESO, saying “Without your intervention this would have been impossible”. She strongly encourages other widows to seek such help to come out of poverty.
When Conny Akidi was orphaned at the age of 16, she became head of the house for her four brothers and three sisters. Then she was raped, resulting in another infant, as well as the fear that she had been infected with HIV. In a final bitter twist, her uncle evicted this young family from the six acres left by their father. He tried to sell their home and threatening to kill them if they did not leave. The family survived because Conny earned money from gardening so she could buy the food she would have grown. Life was so tough, Conny contemplated suicide.
Then she heard about TAO UK’s partner, UWESO. She attended a local UWESO meeting and was chosen as one of its beneficiaries.
UWESO first worked with FAPAD (Facilitation for Peace and Development) to mediate a land settlement. Conny regained five acres and her house and gave one acre to her uncle.
UWESO then gave Conny beans, eggplant, tomatoes, onion and simsim seeds and taught her how to cultivate them. They constructed a goat pen and gave Conny three goats to provide her family with meat and milk. The pens were designed to channel the goat droppings to help make compost for the crops. Conny also had shared use of an ox-drawn plough with four of the charity’s other beneficiaries.
Finally, the charity helped Conny improve home hygiene with a bath shelter, a tap for washing hands and thatching the pit latrine.
Conny says: “I have no words to express my happiness to UWESO UK Trust [now TAO]. God bless all of you.”