Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Who are our scarf models?

Who are our models?
Sometimes when you see pictures online, whether they are in a publication, from an article, or on a website, it is easy to forget that the people in the photos are real, actual people…or maybe that is just me. Ha!  I know I sometimes feel this way when I see nameless photos from other organizations….and assume that the child or woman in the shot is unknown. 

If you relate to these thoughts, then I’d love to share with you exactly who the beautiful women in our scarf photos are.  I can attest that we, here at Fount, know each of them VERY well. 

First, on the far left, is our Community Health Director, Vanessa.  Vanessa has been with Fount since the beginning in 2006, when she took her first trip to Uganda, and became hooked.  She started as a volunteer, and now is on staff, splitting her time between Texas (4 months per year) and Jinja (the remaining 8 months).  Being a practicing labor and delivery nurse, she is passionate about women and adolescent health, reproductive education, and dignity during the birth process.  Her dream, and goal, is to set up a dignified, safe, high-quality maternity center in Jinja.  

Second from the left, is Manuela.  Manuela has been with Fount for almost 2 years, working as Vanessa’s associate.  She has helped write and develop health education curriculum for educators and community leaders to teach to the adolescents in their communities.  Her sweet, calm demeanor and radiant smile are an asset, as she is able to connect easily and quickly with her students.  Thanks to a grant Fount received earlier this year, she is now a full-time employee of ours, and has a computer to aid her work. 

Third from the left is a woman who I am proud to call my “sister”, Olivia.  Olivia is married to my husband’s brother, Robert…another community leader whom Fount has partnered with for about 4 years.  In fact, it is through this initial contact with Robert that Grace (my husband) and I met!  Although Olivia does not work officially for Fount, she is a valuable aid and advisor.  We trust her opinion greatly, and she never hesitates to help when needed.  Olivia sprung to mind immediately as a model for our scarves because of her contagious, continual laughter and amazing smile…not to mention that she LOVES us and will help us whenever needed!  Olivia is currently preparing for her traditional introduction ceremony, which will officially and publicly recognize her marriage to wonder she is so happy! 

And finally, on the far right, is our amazing intern, Katie!  Although Katie just recently left Uganda, this was her second time working for Fount in Jinja.  She had such a good experience in 2011, she decided to go back this past June!  Katie was the guiding force behind our basic business curriculum…not only writing it, but also testing it with a group of village women, and editing it to be even more effective.  This curriculum is now a successful mainstay of our vocational work in Uganda!  During her second trip, she worked with another intern, Sarah, to test and edit our Beginning Sewing class curriculum, as well as overseeing quality control and inventory practices in our new scarf project.  Katie is super-fun, and always eager to jump in wherever needed…in this case, to be our beautiful scarf model!

Every time I post/see these photos, it really brings to home the fact that these scarves are not made by nameless/faceless workers “somewhere in Africa”.  They are each made, by hand, and with love by people whom we love.  

--Written by Tara Nyanga, on behalf of FOM.

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