Paul and Tania Baker are CMS Ireland Mission Partners based in Kiwoko Hospital, in Luwero Diocese in Uganda. Paul works as the Site Engineer for the hospital and Tania assists with the Women's Resource Centre and hospitality ministry in Kiwoko.
Posted by Paul and Tania Baker on Wed, 02 Nov 2011 | 2 comments | Bookmark:
The Craft Project here at Kiwoko relies on visitors to the Hospital to buy the crafts that our ladies make. This works well when we have visiting teams and lots of elective students staying at our Guest House. But there are some times of the year when not many visitors are coming through and few items are being sold. It is at these times that we realise how important it is for us to sell to foreign markets as well. For the last few months we have been completing 3 large orders for people in the UK and these have given the project and the ladies involved a great boost in sales.
I hope…that people will realise when buying these crafts the dramatic difference they are making in the lives of people like Olivar.
The first order came from a lady who had visited Kiwoko earlier in the year as part of a search for suppliers for an internet business she was starting up. Cath was impressed by the professionalism of our ladies and the uniqueness of what they produced. On returning to England she got an order for 30 baskets from a bead shop and she continues to order from us.
Following that, we received two large orders from CMS Britain and CMS Ireland for their Christmas Sales. The CMSI Marketplace order was huge and has kept our ladies very busy for the last 2 months. Many have doubled the amount of craft they usually make in a week and have therefore doubled their income as well.
One lady in particular, Olivar, had most felt the benefit of this great order. A few months ago Olivar’s CD4 count fell dangerously low and she has been struggling with illness ever since. Olivar is a tall buxom lady and so it was hard to see her health failing as she became weaker. She is one of the few members of the group who can speak some English and is always keen to help me communicate with the others. She has a broad engaging smile. But, as her illness progressed the right side of her face lost muscle strength and puffed-up, the result being that she is no longer able to smile. Her decline is heart wrenching to watch.
Olivar is also the most skilled member of our project. While each lady has a few items they specialise in – Olivar can make everything well. And there are many things that only she can make – like our Christmas decorations. So when the order from CMSI asked for 40 of each decoration – Olivar had a lot of work to do.
Olivar produced 3 times as much as anyone else for 3 weeks in a row. This made her enough money to pay someone else to dig her garden so she could still feed her family and send her kids to school.
This could not have come at a better time. Olivar is the sole provider for 8 children after separating from her abusive husband. But, she was too weak to dig her garden which contained all her families’ food. However she could sit and weave Christmas bobbles. Olivar produced 3 times as much as anyone else for 3 weeks in a row. This made her enough money to pay someone else to dig her garden so she could still feed her family and send her kids to school. And after paying some bills she was still able to save some money as part of the savings scheme we have for the ladies.
I hope as CMSI Marketplace events happen over the next few weeks that people will realise when buying these crafts the dramatic difference they are making in the lives of people like Olivar.
MARKETPLACE CRAFT NIGHTS
An exciting evening of crafts is in store as CMS Ireland re-launches Marketplace!
Marketplace brings together a wide range of hand-made crafts from CMS Ireland’s Global Partners and shares the stories behind these unique products.
We have worked with craft programmes in Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan and Nepal to provide a new range of beautiful products, including a variety of small gifts, cards, jewellery and Christmas items.
If you are looking for a different sort of gift, unique jewellery or creative crafts, then come along to our Marketplace night where all of our new stock, including Christmas items, will be on sale!
7.30pm Tuesday 8 November – CMS Ireland Belfast Offices
7.30pm Thursday 10 November – Kill O’ The Grange Parish, Dublin