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Posts Tagged ‘uganda women’s group’

HAPPY NEW YEAR and read all about 2015

December 31, 2015 Leave a comment

Nursery kids July 2015

Wishing all our friends and supporters all the very best for a Happy and Prosperous 2016

Click here to read our 2015 newsletter and find what we have been doing in Uganda

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Punishment Island – the documentary

April 9, 2013 3 comments

Laura Cini, an ex Edirisa Volunteer,  has been making a documentary about Punishment Island on Lake Bunyonyi. Here is her account of her experience:-

Punishment Island

Punishment Island

“Since I volunteered for Edirisa in 2009 to film a short documentary about crafts makers,  my life has been haunted by an idea: documenting the story of Akampene. Akampene is a tiny island on Lake Bunyonyi in South-West Uganda where un-married, pregnant young women were abandoned by their fathers/brothers and left to die in an attempt to shun the shame they brought to their family. What struck me immediately was that nobody had tried to research the story before. The only further information I gleaned from the older members of the local Bunyonyi community was that on occasion poor men, unable to afford to ‘buy’ a wife, would pick up one that had been left on Akampene island. So, I decided to document the whole story.

Two years ago I convinced a camera operator to invest his time, and his equipment, in the crazy mission of finding survivors. Next, I wrote the script, which I developed in Nairobi thanks to a program run by European Media, and I spent a year looking for funds. The market is tough and no broadcaster or documentary foundation will come on board if they don’t see a rough cut. So last year we started another crazy adventure, crowd funding on the web (http://www.ulule.com/punishmentisland). In the end we managed to raise over €10.000  for the filming thanks to the generosity of our supporters.

In February this year we finally went to Lake Bunyonyi with an International crew plus two wonderful local translators. It was tough, from many points of view. Our first and greatest challenge was finding the women who had been left to die on Akampene Island. But find them we did. Then came the next challenge, convincing them to share the story. As it happened this was easier than I had anticipated!  As the women listened to each other it was clear they found it easier to share their own experiences.

And so the next step is to edit a rough cut and present it to all broadcasters and foundations that expressed interest.

Now we face our next challenge. We need to raise money for the last part of production and post-production. “Punishment Island” won’t be a traditional documentary; the crazy difficulties experienced during research will be part of the narrative and the story will be reconstructed from a point of view inspired by the local animist traditions. Apart from concentrating on finishing the film, I am also thinking about an outreach campaign run by local teachers with screenings at local schools to spark off dialogue about equal rights. I wish the film to become a local educational tool focusing on gender issues and a way to raise public awareness about vulnerable women in remote parts of the world. If that would happen, this massive and crazy mission will have been worth it.”

Laura (left) with some of her team

Laura (left) with some of her team

We wish Laura every success and look forward to seeing the documentary.

“Punishment Island” is not Laura’s first documentary. As she mentioned in her account above, she worked with Edirisa on a Craft Documentary. In September 2012 a viewing was held in one of Edirisa UK’s nursery classrooms and the craft women involved travelled from all around Lake Bunyonyi to view Laura’s finished work. This was the first time most of them had ever seen themselves on film!

Phionah laughing at herself

Phionah laughing at herself

Watching the video

Watching the video

Back to School and More!

September 8, 2012 Leave a comment

It’s back to school time in Uganda and the landscape is once again scattered with school children marching along the red, dusty roads and the air is filled with the sound of drums calling the students to assembly. For Edirisa it means welcoming back our nursery teachers and students, but sadly saying goodbye to our summer volunteers, as many of them return home for University.
It has been a busy and fun-filled summer, with lots going on, especially over at Teach Inn Bufuka. Bristol Volunteer Development Association (BVDA) volunteers canoed over to Bwama every day to help put the finishing touches to the clinic. Education program volunteers saw significant progress in the students’ reading abilities at Kyabahinga primary school (using the successful “Butterfly Book” phonics program by Irina Turk). They also ran a summer swim school in our newly refurbished swimming pool. Intern Jair and cyclist Graham travelled around Kabale’s remote villages with our Tough Stuff and Sun King solar products, talking to locals about their solar needs, making affordable payment plans and installing the panels.

Installing a panel

Installing a panel

The Edirisa Crafts Team has also grown over the past months and is still growing! We have welcomed our new Crafts Manager, Kirsty McMahon, to Uganda and have employed two Ugandan interns over the summer holidays. The staff have been working hard to stock our brand new crafts shop at Bunyonyi Overland Resort, meanwhile sponsored student Ahimbisbwe Laban has done a great job of selling it all!

Overland Shop

Overland Shop

The women in the basket weaving groups have also seen a big increase in business since we opened the shop – to the point that one woman broke into spontaneous dance at the weekly meeting!

Bukinda Craft ladies and Jair

Bukinda Craft ladies and Jair

Over at SNEC Kitanga the school harvested 15 kilos of beans, continuing to utilise the donation of gardening tools and seeds supplied by a volunteer. The harvest has helped to feed the children who remained at school during the holidays. Unfortunately for some of our students going home is too dangerous, as some uneducated families still abuse children with disabilities.

Children at SNEC starting the garden

Children at SNEC starting the garden

Other harvests this summer include five kilograms of honey out at our beekeeping project in Kamuronko. After a celebratory taste it was packed off to the market to make a profit for the beekeepers and school. We’re hoping to see our harvest increase in the New Year and have now donated two additional hives to the students at Bunyonyi Vocational School.

Finally, the end of this summer saw the completion of the building work at our new clinic on Bwama Island. The community are very excited to see it and are already inundating staff with questions about the facility and opening times. Before we do open however we still have work to complete inside the building, as regards equipment, water tank and solar panels. We’re still fundraising for this stage so if you want to help us out it will be greatly appreciated!

Creativity, fun, sports and more with Carpe Diem Education Volunteers

April 14, 2012 1 comment

Carpe Diem Education (www.carpediemeducation.org) are regular visitors to Edirisa, stopping in Kabale twice a year, each with a different group, as part of their East African semester. A semester with Carpe Diem provides students with a unique opportunity to study and volunteer abroad.  Volunteering, community and cultural exchange are central to Edirisa UK and Carpe Diem,  and it was great to welcome another group this March.

A visit to Kitanga’s Special Needs Education Center (SNEC) has been on Carpe Diems itinerary for the last two semesters and is becoming a favourite amongst it’s students. Days at SNEC were split between classroom renovations and creative workshops. Due to the fast expansion of the school in recent years there are more classes than classrooms at SNEC, requiring different abilities and ages to be taught in the same classroom. Edirisa UK with the help of Carpe Diem  have provided partitions for two classrooms to ensure a more practical learning environment. With the help of students and teachers  Carpe Diem painted educational material specific to different classes on each side of the wooden partitions, creating a fun and informative backdrop for each lesson.

Bead Making

Bead Making

 

Creative workshops in the afternoons provided an opportunity to work closely with the small classes of students, each with specific learning difficulties. The theme this year was jewellery and our visitors taught and assisted the SNEC students to make their own necklaces and bracelets using hand made beads of rolled paper. With these beads now fashion statements in Europe and America it was a great workshop for Carpe Diem to lead and a bright, colourful, fun and very sticky afternoon for the SNEC students.

 

The second half of Carpe Diem’s visit took the team to the beautiful Lake Bunyonyi, and the ‘Heart’ of Edirisa. First on the itinerary was a day spent with one of Edirisa UK’s women’s craft groups at Rubona. This gave the students a chance to look over the plans for the future Rubona development – an orphanage, nursery school and craft workshop at the top of the hill over looking the lake – and to experience a day in a craft woman’s life. The craft lesson started with the ladies teaching the group two simple bracelet designs; one using banana fibers and one with raffia grass. After the students mastered these (some better than others!) it was time to learn to use the pedal powered sewing machine. This caused some problems for the students used to automatic electronic machines, but proved to be a fascinating learning experience.

Lake Bunyonyi

Lake Bunyonyi

After a deserved weekend relaxing and visiting islands around the lake, the final task for the volunteers was to run the annual Edirisa Nursery School sports days, over 2 days, at Bufuka and Kyabahinga Nursery Schools. The nursery students were split into teams, each with an American team captain and over the course of the morning competed against each other in a number of grueling relay races.

An obstacle course kicked off proceedings at both schools which saw the toddlers negotiating a tricky arrangement of balancing beams, tables to crawl under, and benches to jump. Then came an egg (ball) and spoon race, a hilarious three-legged race and a very excitable sack race! Although one team from each school had to be declared a winner, a great time was had by everyone and the teams went home satisfied with their performances.

Obstacle Course

Obstacle Course

The following evening we bade our visitors farewell, and wished them a safe onward journey to Kampala. Here in Kabale, we’re already looking forward to welcoming a new group in the ‘fall’.

Bringing Medicine back to Bunyonyi

March 26, 2012 1 comment

In a belated celebration of International Women’s Day the Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, speaker of Ugandan Parliament, visited the construction site of Edirisa UK’s new clinic last week. She visited to express her appreciation for all the facility will do to help combat maternal mortality around Lake Bunyonyi and to recognise the female influence on the project (the project manager, district engineer and supervising clinical officer are all women).  She was accompanied by Ministers and MP’s from across Kabale district.

Rt Hon Rebecca Kadaga

Rt Hon Rebecca Kadaga

Edirisa UK began construction of an outpatients department on Bwama Island in response to the healthcare problem on Lake Bunyonyi. Despite the recent spike in development around the lake the majority of the local population still lives without access to basic medical care, with some residents travelling up to three hours to receive treatment. Built on land donated by The Church of Uganda, the clinic will be staffed and supplied by the District Health Office, with equipment, additional medication and volunteer Doctors provided by The University of Ljubljana’s (UL) Tropical Medicine Section in Slovenia.

Edirisa UK’s founder Sheila Windridge says that this has been a long-anticipated project for Edirisa, who have hosted volunteer doctors from UL for several years. “We wanted to provide better conditions for the volunteers and so help them better serve the community. It was our original intention to build at mainland Bufuka where we’re predominantly based, however the government partnership at Bwama Island was a welcome surprise and we’re very happy that the clinic will be sustained and monitored by the Health Department.”

Presentation

Presentation

District Health Officer, Dr. Patrick Tusiime also points out that this is something of a medical renaissance for Bwama Island. Under the management of Dr Sharp it famously housed thousands of leprosy patients from across Central and East Africa. At that time the island was chosen to isolate patients from the rest of the community, however now the site has been identified due to its central point on the lake and consequent accessibility for patients.

When completed the clinic will function as a Health Centre III, with an Out-Patients Department, Overnight and Maternity Wards. Although large the facility is expected to be completely autonomous in its power generation and water supply. “We have a big responsibility to make sure that this facility has a low-impact on its environment, especially in such a beautiful location” explains Project Manager Rebecca Swan. “We’ll be using eco-sanitation and safe waste-disposal as well as solar power and rain-water harvesting.“

Project Manager Rebecca Swan

Project Manager Rebecca Swan

It is expected that the Out-Patients Department will be finished and treating patients by August. Rt. Hon Rebecca Kadaga has pledged to donate beds to the maternity ward.

Happy International Women’s Day

March 8, 2012 Leave a comment

Here at Edirisa UK we love the Ugandan culture and we’re working hard to promote and preserve it. Scattered right across the country are groups of hard working women creating beautiful traditional crafts to sell to both locals and, of course, tourists. One thing people always notice about the people of Uganda are the brightly coloured clothes and beautiful fabric prints, or Kitengye, as they are called in Uganda. We’ve been working with various women’s craft groups across the Kabale region in South West Uganda in an effort to boost their sales, shake up the products on offer and improve quality…and why? To give these women a sense of pride, a sustainable income and to promote the diverse and colourful culture that Uganda has to offer.

Vian and Rose working together

Vian and Rose working together

In February we welcomed Rose Tushabe as our new resident tailor. She took over from Vian (a student tailor doing an internship with us over the Christmas period) in February and has recently held workshops with women’s craft groups in Rubona (Lake Bunyonyi) and Ryabirengye (Bukinda) teaching sewing skills. Although proficient in traditional basket making these women had never sewed before and had difficulty even getting the needle to move! But Rose had everything in hand and by the end of the workshop they had picked up the basics are were able to make purses and simple bags.

“Going to the women in the villages and teaching them in sewing was a great experience for me. The women were very welcoming, interested and eager to learn new things. This workshop was very good for the community but also for the women’s personal development.“ (Tailor Rose Tushabe)

Learning to Sew

Learning to Sew

During the workshop the women also had the opportunity to improve their basket making skills and were introduced to new woven products and taught how to improve the quality of their goods.

We place great importance on the role of women in African communities. Besides being responsible for domestic work and raising children, women are often the main provider of the family. With two sewing machines currently at Rubona and one at Ryabirengye (donated by Edirisa UK) the women’s groups in rural communities are getting the opportunity to develop a new source of income for themselves and their families.

This is just the beginning for these workshops and we plan to continue introducing craft women to different kinds of Kitengye products and encourage them to realise their own potential.

Rubona Women sewing training

Rubona Women sewing training

Construction, Development and Innovation

October 17, 2011 Leave a comment

This time last week Sheila Windridge, founder of Edirisa UK, touched down in London after her two week trip to Uganda to check up on all of our projects. One of the most exciting of those projects is a construction enterprise in association with Uganda Martyrs’ University.

Architecture students from the university’s faculty of the Built Environment are embarking on a project to design and plan an orphanage, nursery school and crafts workshop for the community of Rubona. The Rubona Women’s Group and Orphan Care began in a response to a high number of orphaned children and widowed women in the community. The women make local crafts and invest the profits back in to their community.

The initiative was started by Gyaviira Turinawe in 2007 and in 2010 Edirisa UK decided to support their work by donating knitting and sewing machines and fundraising for much needed building projects. When Marga Jann and Mark Olweny from Uganda Martyrs’ University decided they wanted to help we were delighted, and after the students’ visit to Rubona plans are well under way.

It is anticipated that the project will take 2 years to complete with construction scheduled to begin in 2012. One thing the students were amazed by is the stunning location. Set high on a hill the site has wonderful views over the islands of Lake Bunyonyi and the students intend to work with the natural resources to produce the power needed (solar and wind). The site will include vegetable and fruit gardens as well as water harvesting tanks to eradicate the need for lengthy water collections.

The students plan to use bamboo, eucalyptus, earth bricks, wood and local stone in the construction which will be funded by Edirisa UK.

We really hope to boost the comfort and productivity of this wonderful community that shows great compassion, community spirit and entrepreneurship. Just as Sheila was leaving the village she was gifted by a great example of their ingenuity. The picture below shows a young boy with the wooden bicycle that he made. It doesn’t have peddles but the wheels turn perfectly and it certainly makes for a quick trip down hill!

Wooden bike

Wooden bike

Wooden bike

Wooden bike