July 10th, 2009
Written by Tara Hawks, Director of Sewing Hope (a Fount of Mercy program)
Yesterday, I had my first official meeting with the leadership of one of our organizations, the Orphans Rescue Mission (ORM). ORM has been working with Fount from the beginning and although Sewing Hope was able to provide them with 3 sewing machines last year, this will be the first summer to teach seminars. The meeting began with Yusto, the director, and his wife Joy. Then, we were later joined by the tailoring teacher, Patience, and Yusto's oldest son, Andrew.
Here is the Mission Statement for the proposal they sent to us, asking for support of their sewing program: Our mission is to equip ORM Children with skills and later, upon satisfactory process of rehabilitation and restoration, re-integrate them in our communities when they are already self-supportive and decent people.
The exciting thing about ORM is that they are not only working with adult women of the community who need a way to support their families, but also with older, teen-aged orphans who will soon be expected to support themselves entirely...age 15. Their hope is to help provide tangible life-skills, sewing and tailoring being a huge part of that, but also including skills such as baking and cleaning.
As exciting as their program is, and as dynamic as their director is, they still have a long way to get to their goals. One of the biggest goals for the immediate future is to secure a contract with a local school to make school uniforms. The school has 700 children, so this size business would be amazing for their program! But, before they can pursue a contract, Sewing Hope has started to help them be sure that they can actually sustain and follow-through with filling such a large order.
Our 5+ hour meeting consisted of not only my first truly local meal since being back in Uganda, but of meeting and creating a salary agreement for their new teacher, Patience. She will be graduating from a Kampala-based vocational school, the YWCA funny enough, at the end of August, and has agreed to teach for a full year at ORM, sharing her knowledge and skills with the women and teenagers there. Securing a consistent and qualified teacher has been a struggle up till now, and is the first step in getting ORM in a position to move forward with the rest. This program is young, but full of energy, and dynamic.... and has tons of hope to accomplish their goals! There is no doubt that given enough time and resources ORM is going to succeed. My team will be back in 3 weeks to lead our seminars. Can't wait!!!