Ugandan Upcycle

Upcycle has had links with Uganda since our very early days. Most recently we have converted a section of each of our upcycle units to book stores on a donation only basis. All donations made for books are used to support our friends in Uganda and make their very difficult lives a little easier.

We have:

Built a teachers house for a small school so they always have staff there to teach them and lessons are not regularly cancelled.

Built a latrine for a school site to improve the health and hygiene facilities.

We are in the process of building a youth centre with internet facilities.

Donated 3 beautiful artworks to the local church to decorate a very plain building.

Donated funds for the purchase of goats to more than 65 families.

Funded self start businesses for 45 people.

Given financial help to huge numbers of people living on the poverty line.

What is most special about how we work is that in order to ensure the funds go directly to the people who need it most we employ a Ugandan woman called Stella, who lives in the slums in a town called Mbale, and this has changed the life of her and her family:


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Map of Africa with Uganda highlighted in red
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Stella Aguti

“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.

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The slum where Stella and her family live.

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.

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Stella and two of her children

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.

WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT MBALE?  The Mbale district is one of the poorest regions in Uganda with 90% of households declaring themselves as poor.  68% of households live in huts and struggle to meet the costs of living, with many people surviving on less than $1 a day. 


Our unique programme of grant giving in Uganda relies on just one trusted member of staff to assess the applicants and process the giving.  This means that much more money goes directly to those in need, compared to larger organisations. 


Case Study 1: Adongo Kana

Mbale district

Adongo Kana is a single mother of two children.  Making a little money by travelling from house to house to wash clothes for other villagers.  The purchase of a sewing machine and some clothes to work on and sell with provide her with a means to support her children with the hopes of raising enough funds to feed them and pay school fees.

arujo1Case Study 2: Arujo Jesca

Amuria district

Arujo Jesca is a single mother of 3 children.  The purchase of this sewing machine will bring them from the poverty line as it will allow Jesca to make an income to feed her children.

asio128129Case Study 3: Asio Anna Grace

Amuria district

Anna Grace is a single mother of 5 children, abandoned by the father.  She is using the grant provided by Upcycling to start a produce business.  Buying large sacks of ground nuts and beans at market and selling them to the local villagers.  This grant has allowed her to start her business by buying stock and a method of transporting the sacks.  The profit from the sales will make it possible for Anna Grace to buy more stock and support her children in a long term sustainable way.


Case Study 4: Atim Sultana

Kumi district

Atim Sultana is a widow supporting her family alone.  The grant from Upcycle has allowed her to purchase 3 goats which she now intends to rear and breed.  The sale of the kids will allow Sultana to support her children well and send them to school.

isaac1Case Study 6: Ochen Ismail

Mbale district

Ochen Ismail could not complete his education due to lack of funding from his family.  He now has a family of his own to support, but without qualifications this is difficult.  Ismail used the funds from Upcycle to buy aluminium and coal so that he could make his own saucepans and pots.  He will be selling these to local households, schools and businesses.  Funds he makes will be used to support his family and complete his education.

Christmas 2018,Upcycle launched an idea over their facebook sites to give customers the opportunity to buy a goat for a Ugandan in poverty as a special Christmas present for someone. SO far this scheme has seen over 30 families receive a goat due to the kind donations of people from Chepstow and Cinderford regions. 

At a cost of £16 per goat, this was a life changing gift for these families, many of which are surviving on less than $1 a day.