This beautiful letter was written by Peninah, our leader in the women's group in Kyakasengula, Uganda, on behalf of the whole group. We received it on July 4th to bring with us to the African Boston Festival. We've decided to share it with you because of the tremendous support we get from all of you whenever we talk about this project and share with you what we're doing. Our sincere thanks.
"We are a group of women found in Uganda (the pearl of Africa). We are located in Kyakasengula, in Mubende district just 64 miles from Kampala the Capital City. The group was formed after the visit of our sisters Kaley and Lene to our community in 2011. Their visit has made a very big change in our community thus making them our sisters - they have promoted our talents, they have helped look for market for our crafts, they have helped treat jiggers which has been a problem in our community, they have donated shoes to children in our community and through group formation there is unity among the women of our community. Through their advice, we have been able to help each other get the basic needs like toilets, bathrooms, utensil rack, dustbins and kitchens. Many homes did not have the same. Also many parents had neglected educating the girl child. But now they have known the value of the girl child in the world. Girls are in schools. Before the visit of our sisters, the girls were left with their mothers to be prepared for early marriages. This has forced us to include girls who are between 14 to 18 years who already have children. Among these children are those whose male parents are alcoholic, others are total orphans whose have been neglected by their relatives let alone the cultures, all these have played a big role to kill the girls future. In fact, some of these girls had decided to become prostitutes in order to look after their babies thus the high rate of HIV/AIDS victims. While boys are at school, it is the girl's job to fetch water. Our community is about 30 square miles but we have only 5 bore holes. Can you imagine the line of jerrycans around one borehole!! Not forgetting the time spent at the borehole plus time travelling to and fro, also creates enough time for the girls to be mislead into sexual immorality. Our plan to avoid this; is to build a vocational institution to train the girls in different handworks like tailoring, knitting, beadmaking, saloonists, cosmotology, embrodery, handlooming, nursing. Secondly, we need more boreholes. Incase this is fixed for us we believe that all will be well with our community. I am sorry for the delay the ladies are busy in planting time. That's the ideas gathered from some of the women. Yours, peninah". July 4th 2013