summary of the work of Suubi Teen MOPS in Uganda and its partner organization Hoffnung für Uganda e.V.
Suubi Teen MOPS 2019
This is a short summary of the work of Suubi Teen MOPS in Uganda and its partner organization Hoffnung für Uganda e.V.
We began 2019 with discouragement and sickness. In the final 2 months of 2018 funds were eaten up by emergency medical costs. We paid for malaria and typhoid fever, and unidentified bacterial infections (most likely from bad water) and burns caused by water that was being boiled. Uganda experienced 5 times the average rainfall in 2019. The sewage systems flooded and contaminated the drinking water. Our teenage mothers earn very little money. And they were literally spending one-third of their monthly income on the coal necessary to boil their water. And the process also cost them hours every day. Eventually, we discovered a locally made ceramic water filter. It is made by Spouts of water. And we raised the funds to give a water filter to every woman in the ministry. We also have filters in each of our workshops. It is our hope that we will no longer have to pay for waterborne sickness. And this will also save a great deal of our mom's time and money. And we hope there will be fewer burns because the women no longer boil large amounts of water daily.
Suubi also raised the funds needed to build a water well in a village North of Kampala. The village of 300 families had no clean water. And during seasons of drought, no water at all. We chose to build this well because we wanted to start a goat farm in this village. But without a reliable source of water, we could not invest in goats. This Hoffnung für Uganda e.V project was lead by Katrina Funk and a team. They successfully raised the funds necessary to build the well, they worked with the local coordinator, the village leadership and the contractors. And in October Juergen and Nicole went to Uganda to dedicate the well to the village. Even during seasons of heavy rain groundwater is contaminated. But the well water is healthy and will prevent sickness for hundreds of families. It is located in a safe and convenient location to protect girls from attacks. When wells are in isolated areas, girls are attacked and raped. And it assures a reliable source of water even during dry seasons.
Because we have a reliable source of water, we could now invest in goats. The idea behind our Goat City project is to breed goats for meat. Goats reproduce at a very steady and rapid rate. Goat meat is more valuable in East Africa than cows meat. We will keep the female goats to breed. But ever male goat born will be sold for profit. And the profits will go back to Suubi to pay for operational expenses. Suubi has the goal of becoming self-sustaining. We began with 12 goats. But we have received donations over Christmas for 15 more goats. These female goats will be purchased in January2020. We have already had our first birth. It was a male goat. So around Easter, he will be sold. I think all 12 of the original females are pregnant. Eventually, we hope to build a large herd of goats that provide steady funds to cover operational costs.
In June we graduated our first 8 women from sewing school. These women are now busy finding work. They all can earn enough money from their skill to pay for rent and food, medical costs, cloths. Our sewing teacher Sarah has remained on staff. She primarily helps our women find jobs. Eventually, we hope to find funding to have a new sewing group. These 8 women did not know how to use scissors 2 years ago. At graduation, they all wore dresses they had designed and made themselves.
The soap workshop employs 8 women. They make handmade natural bar soap from local ingredients like coffee and mangos. The women have worked very hard to get the soap licensed. Our soap workshop has now received a certificate for quality and safety. It has a seal for quality and a cosmetic seal of approval. It also went through the process of becoming a Community Based Organization. NGO’s (Non-Governmental Organizations) are not allowed to make a profit. CBO’s are allowed to make a profit without paying taxes. CBO’s are social enterprises that employ disadvantaged people. And CBO’s can seek local grant funding. Suubi soap is now a CBO. It has already been given one very small local grant. And in exchange for this grant, they will train 8 women to make liquid soap. We have also applied for many other grants to train hundreds of women to make soap. With our new quality seal, we hope to see Suubi Soap in local markets on a larger scale. It is now sold in smaller hotels and boarding schools and salons.
Suubi used its skills to bless the larger community. They handed out over 1000 bars of soap in the slums. Soap is a basic need to combat sickness. But the average person in the 16 Kampala slums can not afford a bar of soap. So Suubi took their soap and handed it out to people in the slums, and children in poor village schools.
Suubi also knows how to make washable sanitary pads. 30% of all schoolgirls in Ugandan schools can not afford to pay for feminine hygiene products. We received donations to sew washable sanitary pads. And we gave these pads in sets of 6 to schoolgirls in rural schools. Our women have also sewn pads to help pay us back for a sewing machine. So each woman from our sewing school now owns their own machine. We have over 2000 washable pads that will be given away in February of 2020.
Last year we crowdfunded school fees for our 16 oldest Suubi kids. School fees and the necessary books, supplies, and uniforms are not free in Uganda. But we are a ministry that focuses on mothers of preschoolers. And we realized that we would need to increase our scholarships to help 30 children in January 2020. We spent many months trying to find an organization to partner with us to meet this need. The good partner programs were all full. They had long waiting lists. And the not so nice programs that charge 50% for administration costs would work with us. But we could not agree to promote a program that holds 50% for administration fees. We chose instead to start our own child sponsorship program. It is limited to the women in our program. 100% of the donations go to the child's school fees, supplies, and uniforms. We needed 30 sponsors to support the children in Suubi Teen MOPS Kindergarten age and above. And I am happy to report that we now have 30 families and individuals who have agreed to stand with each of our school-age children. They will pay 35 Euro/40 USD a month. And this will cover the majority of the need. As costs increase, we hope to pay the increases with fundraising, or even goat sales. And as we have children come of age for school we will ask for additional sponsors. But the need for new sponsors should be limited and we hope manageable.
Suubi continues to offer food in its two workshops. It also provides a monthly feast where the women and kids get to eat as much as they can. And we open the feast up to local street children.
Suubi has been busy seeking larger grant funding. In December we were asked by the United Nations Women's ministry and the Gates Foundation to participate in an expo for major donors. The United Nations even came to both of our workshops to make a video of our work. We have been widely admired by many Government officials and aid organizations in 2019. But admiration does not equal funding. So we hope to actually secure grants in 2020. We would like to train more women to sew, to make thousands of washable sanitary pads to give to school girls, to make soap to give away in the slums, to train women who live in poverty to make soap and to go into refugee camps to train women with these skills. Suubi also wants to eventually open an agricultural center for single mothers in the village. Here we would teach them to raise goats and chickens. And to process bananas and mangos. To start trees for reforestation. And maybe how to make biogas.
We had two different missions teams from Hoffnung für Uganda e.V. visit Uganda in 2019. And we hope to also have two teams go in 2020. Every trip opens our eyes to the needs. But we also learn more about what can be done. And the people who go to Uganda with us become outspoken advocates for Suubi.
In 2020 we hope to secure grant funding. We hope to expand our influence and train more women. We hope to invest more in becoming self-sustaining. And we hope to broaden our base of support in the German NGO. As Suubi becomes more and more self-sustaining, Hoffnung für Uganda e.V hopes to spend less of its money on operational needs. We can instead support only the Child sponsorship program and strategic development of an agricultural school.
We are very grateful for everyone who has supported our work in 2019. We also had a faithful group of individuals who have prayed for this work all year. Your support has helped us so much. We feel supported because you are standing with us.
We have failed to mention that Suubi is also a teen MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) group. And our women have met every Thursday in both workshops for input on parenting, and encouragement. MOPS has made our women a community that supports and loves each other. For example, when one of our women gave birth, another came to her house to hand wash her clothes and wash her floors. In March 2019 Sylvia Nantongo was able to travel to Germany to be a part of the MOPS Europe conference. Suubi Teen MOPS operates as a Non-Governmental Agency to address the extream poverty of our women and to empower them with skills that will help lift them out of poverty. But MOPS is an organization that supports mothers. And MOPS has helped our teenage mothers become a family to each other. We are glad to be a part of this global organization that empowers mothers in over 60 countries.
I am certain I have left many things out of this review. There are too many details to record. But it is a huge honor to partner with Suubi to bring hope to the brave teenage mothers in Uganda.
You can learn more about Suubi Teen MOPS Uganda on our website https://www.teenmopsuganda.com/
This was written by Amy Heymann