The Community Outreach
Although TOL was launched as a sewing ministry, the needs of the community are complex, and we have expanded our programming to support the existing assets and address the vulnerabilities of the women in Katanga and the surrounding areas.
Thread of Life outreach currently has the following projects:
Tailoring Class, English Class, Bead Making, Guidance and Counseling, Life Skills Training, Savings Circles, We Care ( New), Girls With Grace (New), Hair Dressing (New)
Since most of our women are illiterate, with low levels of education, we saw it necessary to host an English class.
The class offers Basic English; a beginners section, for those who cannot write their names and only speak in their dialect, and the advanced section, for those who can read simple letters but struggle to form words and sentences.
The women are becoming confident, comfortably interacting with volunteers after completing this class.
Goals and Expansions: We need another English facilitator or volunteer to assist our current teacher. By next year in January we want to hire on someone who take us through the beginner’s class.
Bead making was one of our first programs at TOL, but because there is a lot of competition in the market we stopped training new women. However, we still support the women we have already trained who have made it their income generating activity. We have a shop at our premises where those women are now our suppliers for jewelry.
Our primary market is Pipeline. Three years ago Pipeline began placing large orders. They place a bulk order of ~500 single strands necklaces annually, plus additional miscellaneous orders. This last year they added us onto their CME Stories program (a specific program that supports NGOs serving women), listing us on their website and growing our visibility. This has helped us support our mothers in the field.
Quality control is our primary challenge. Some women make the product from their homes, far away from Kampala, making it difficult to supervise their work. Then, when the deliveries are made, and we have to reject most of the product, the women are discouraged. To address this challenge we plan to restart the paper bead class on site.
Goals and Expansions: To raise the funds for a paper bead program on site at TOL. Our costs will include meals and bead-making supplies. We hope to launch in 2016 and by next year we will train 10 women.