Yesterday we dedicated some time to learning more about the community we serve. It only took a few hours. It was simple. But the knowledge we gained opened our eyes to what we’re doing right, and what we could be doing better.One of the most surprising things we learned from our day of research was that many people who live in the town of Mudaka, where the third Asili clinic is located, didn’t know much about our clinic there! They had seen the signs, the white building and the beautiful gardens, but weren’t sure exactly what services were offered, at what price. Most people we spoke with used our nearby water kiosk regularly, but had never visited the clinic.A huge part of Asili is a deep belief in our brand promise – clarity, consistency, and community. So on Day 300, we took a small step to make sure that everyone in our community knows what we’re all about.The kiosk in Mudaka is a mere few hundred feet from the Asili clinic. There’s no good reason that everyone … [Read more...] about A Little Reminder
Last June the Sweatshop community rallied to raise the funds to send our very own team member, Andezu Orionzi (Zu), a first-generation daughter of two Ugandan refugees and Macalester College graduate to Uganda. Zu had a life-shaping experience participating in the World Refugee Day 5k in Nakivale Refugee Settlement.Now we want to build on the overwhelming outpouring of support for this first initiative and send Zu back to Uganda with American Refugee Committee - this time to make real, tangible change for one month. Through ARC's Changemakers 365 program, Zu would implement one project - costing no more than $500 - every day for one month. Sometimes the world's problems seem too big to touch, but there is also a lot of small change that can make a huge difference in real people's lives. It's doing the doable, and it's the change Zu will be leading - With Our Support.Sweatshop's goal is to raise $20,000, and we want YOU to be a part of the coalition of amazing people … [Read more...] about Doing the Doable with Zu
We have just a couple of days left in Kyangwali refugee settlement, and we wanted to spend today helping a group of young people who've already taken initiative to change their lives.These young men are running a water business in Kyangwali. There are some restaurants, guesthouses and residents who pay these boys to collect water for them from the settlement's water points and deliver it to their doors. The boys have a small wheelbarrow they use for the job that can carry about 3 jerricans of water. While they're at it, they also collect water for elderly residents or people who can't manage to get water for themselves.They wanted to grow their business and do more for their community. So, on Day 269 we helped them build their capacity...with a new water cart.We commissioned welders in Kyangwali to construct a new water cart that would more than triple the amount of water the waterboys could transport. Now they can carry 12 jerricans at one time (at any given time, they … [Read more...] about WATER! Get Your Clean Water!
When refugees flee they lose everything: their homes, their livelihoods, their dreams. No camp and no project can ever restore what has been lost. However we believe that by working with refugees and host communities, together, we can put into place the foundation for a thriving community – that refugees are able to call home.The built environment matters; it shapes the way that we experience and interpret our surroundings. Intentional design has the power to transform camps into neighborhoods, clinics from places of sickness to well-being, and despair into hope for a brighter future. With years of experience, we are experts in the design and construction of durable, cost-effective structures. We build housing, latrines, showers, and cooking areas to help restore a sense of home and stability to vulnerable communities. But we are also the first to admit that too often the urgent nature of crises have lead us to construct buildings that although technically adequate haven’t built … [Read more...] about A New Home
Yesterday, we purchased two computers to make a little computer lab at the training camp for the Refugee Olympians. They'll practice typing, using email and learning English.But we still needed a printer to complete the computer lab. So on Day 238, we arrived with a brand new printer, ready to hook up."It will be helpful for everyone to know how to use it," said Lam Joar, who works and lives at the training camp. "If they work in an office, they'll need to know how to use a printer."The staff from the Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation that runs the camp were excited for the new color printer, too. When guests come to visit, they'll be able to print schedules and other materials now.This change made possible by Atomic Data. … [Read more...] about A Complete Lab
Last month, we sat down with some of our Congolese teammates who’ve been with us since the very beginning. People like José Katumba, who was instrumental to paving the way toward the first launch in Buhanga, to Michelline Engiteyo, who was based in Kinshasa for years, working with the Congolese government to get the permits and licenses we need to perate. We asked them what keeps them motivated - what gets them to work everyday. And it was amazing to hear their responses. … [Read more...] about Investing in Congo’s Future
Not all of the groups committed to running in the World Refugee Day 5K were sports teams. Some wanted to show their talents in other ways. One group is Nakivale Movies, who uses their talents as movie producers to promote peace building. “We want to build peace through film,” says secretary Mushongole Muganuzi.Working together as a youth group since 2014, Nakivale Movies has already produced a number of educational films on subjects such as education, protection, and health & nutrition. They find value in teaching positive behavior and mobilizing in their local communities. And they’ve shown their documentaries locally in Nakivale settlement and as far away as Kampala.But to mobilize, the group needed more equipment to screen their movies. So on Day 185, we purchased a projector, screen, and hard drive to help. This equipment will allow Nakivale Movies to move around the different districts of Nakivale Settlement – which is more than 70 square miles in size – to show their … [Read more...] about And, ACTION!
In case you missed it, eight days ago we organized a first-of-its-kind World Refugee Day 5k in Nakivale Refugee Settlement in Uganda. More than 1200 people participated in celebration of refugees and with the ultimate goal to promote sporting and play opportunities for refugee youth in their community.Among our guests at the event were four members of the Refugee Olympic team that ran away with our hearts in Rio in 2016 - Pur Biel, Rose Nathike Lokonyen, Gai Nyang Tap and Kadar Omar Abdallah. In fact, Rose and Omar were the women’s and men’s winners of the 5k.Sports and play have obviously been an important part of these refugee athletes’ stories growing up. So, before they left Uganda they wanted a chance to connect with the next generation. Kajaho Primary School – where Ugandan and refugee students learn side-by-side – hosted the Olympians and a small contingent of supporters for an inspirational afternoon of singing, dancing, playing and presentations by the … [Read more...] about Leaving an Impression
Dowrin is an English and Social Studies teacher at Kajaho Primary School in Oruchinga Refugee Settlement in Uganda. She's a musical person. When you walk around the school grounds, you always hear the most singing and clapping coming from the direction of Dowrin's classroom.But Dowrin wanted to take music at Kajaho to the next level, because she knows firsthand the amazing benefits music has helping her students build friendships and unlock their potential. So, on June 20, Dowrin and her fellow teachers ran in the World Refugee Day 5k in nearby Nakivale refugee settlement to raise money for musical instruments at Kajaho."This is just what we needed," said Dowrin as we handed over a new xylophone, a set of traditional drums and an electronic keyboard complete with a solar battery. "These new instruments will help us get our students involved with music, and it will sharpen their minds."Dowrin is also a strong believer in music bringing people together. And that's … [Read more...] about Making Music