The Forest Upcycling Project has branched out even further, and now employs a woman from Uganda, named Stella Aguti. Her role in the charity is to buy and ship African products to England, and also to manage our small Grant giving scheme. Working for the charity means Stella has a steady income of money, meaning she can send her children to school and can have enough food to eat.
“Hello, my name is Stella Aguti I am a mother of three children living in a place called Namatala in the town of Mbale in south-eastern Uganda. For most of the past decade I have been making a living through buying a few perishable goods (tomatoes, onions) at the central market each day and selling them onto my neighbours. I live in part of the town that some would call a slum.
I have a two room dwelling where I stay with my husband and three children. Like many people in Uganda I have a good education, but have not had the opportunity to put that education to use. There are so few jobs, and those who get them often pay a bribe to be selected. I want to make sure my three children grow up and have a better life than the one I have.
I cannot describe how totally grateful I am for the opportunity Forest Upcycling has given me. With a monthly wage and the opportunity to put my business skills to better use. With your help I can educate my children properly and think about improving my living conditions. I will work with all my strength for Forest Upcycling. Though I am many miles away, I share in your desire to make the world a better place. THANK YOU SO MUCH.”
Stella has been managing the distribution of £50 business start up grants to families in her town of Mbale. Families are selected to receive a grant based on their current level of hardship and the sustainability of their idea. Stella, being a local Ugandan woman, is best places to make these judgements as she knows the people, the area and the businesses.
In 2017-8 Stella issued 12 £50 grants to families in her region.
Example 1: Andogo used her grant to purchase a sewing machine and a bundle of clothes that she can mend and re-sell. As a single mother of two, she is now able to generate an income as a seamstress and in the selling of clothes.
Example 2: Jenifer Amajo is using the funds to set up a door to door vegetable sales business. She has been able to purchase the baskets and vegetables she needs to set this up and also pay for transport to the markets to get her started.