Holly first visited Pader in 2013 where she was drawn to the poor, isolated, and lonely women she met. She felt led by God to help these women by improving their bead making skills to create income for their families. After many years of war, the women were left to care for themselves and many children.
The women had been making beads out of recycled calendar paper and sacks they found in town. Holly taught them to improve the quality of their work and add new designs and colors.
Holly travels to Pader 3 times each year. She brings the beautiful treasures home to sell in the US. The results of her encouragement and care are seen not only in the number of women that are involved in the project (growing from 30 to 150 in 4 years), but also in the growth and changes made by the women and their community. Their self-esteem has improved as they are able to provide food, medical help and school fees for their children. The women are learning business skills to help them invest at least part of their craft money in livestock, such as chickens, pigs and goats.
In 2017, Holly converted the organization into a 501c3 nonprofit, The Women of Pader Uganda. Also during that year, Holly began a business training program for the women, teaching them basic business principles, including how to create and maintain a healthy and sustainable business based on the economic needs in Pader. After 6 months of training the women in 2017, the nonprofit began making micro loans, and over the last year has made approx. 30 loans with 100% repayment to date. The women follow a weekly payment schedule that includes a savings plan.
Holly’s mission is to raise up spiritual and business leaders, women who know Jesus as their Savior and realize each woman is important and has a purpose to fulfill in life. The women have been growing in their discipleship skills and leadership skills as well as their personal spiritual walks with the Lord. The beads initially gave them a reason to come together, heal, and generate income; however, so much more fruit has resulted than merely making beads.