The Women of Pader Uganda
Pader, Uganda, is a small village about 8 to 12 hours north of the capital city of Kampala. The town and its people were ravaged by Joseph Kony and Lord’s Resistance Army for 20 years. Many Ugandans were killed, many were infected with HIV/AIDS, and most were traumatized. The war ended around 2008, but the effects remain. Poverty, AIDS, malaria, malnutrition, and starvation are constant problems.
Women are the backbone of the community in Pader. They earn the income for the family, work the fields, and raise the children. Many children were orphaned during the war, so many of the women are raising not only their own children, but also orphaned ones. Lack of education, combined with school fees for all schools, makes breaking the cycle of poverty very difficult. By making a purchase or donation, you are taking a step with Holly. You are a partner in making this dream come true for the Women of Pader, Uganda.
She is a hard-working and creative woman; with a past of serious illness, an alcoholic husband, and much hardship. Today she is married to a “lovely peaceful man,” with whom she is raising six children. She is a part of the bead project and is a loan recipient from The Women of Pader Uganda (TWOPU), with which she has started a pancake business and grocery store, and through this she has been able to buy a pig and pay her children’s school fees. In addition to her businesses, she also cooks for our entire staff in Uganda!
Her husband fled home after getting involved in a murder case, leaving her to raise and care for their six children independently. She has been able to pay school fees for her children through the craft of making jewelry. She is encouraged that even though she is alone she is able to send her children to school and buy some household essentials. She is even a leader in our glass bead team!
Florence, a biological mother of 8 and 4 adopted orphans, used to struggle with a drinking problem. She knew she was wasting her resources and not building a home for her 12 children. She came to Pader Community Church where her life was changed when she met Jesus. She quit wasting money on alcohol and became part of the bead ministry earning money. Now Florence uses her resources wisely and has been able to buy mattresses for her family and a goat, pigs and chickens. She says she and her children can even “dress smartly” with the money she has earned.
Her husband left her and their three children, whom she is now raising independently. In her sadness, she met someone who invited her to Pader Community Church where her life began to change. Through the craft of making money she has been able to build a hut for her family and pay school fees for her oldest son, who is now in Secondary school.
She is a talented seamstress, who learned to sew while attending tech school. Scovia now owns her own sewing machine and is part of the team making beautiful pants for The Women of Pader Uganda (TWOU). She has a son named Omarwot which means “I love God”. The money she earns sewing allows her to pay for Omarwot’s school fees and provide food for her family. She says that her job with TWOPU keeps opening more doors for her and her family.
After facing many challenges throughout her life, Miriam praises God for her church family and The Bead Project. She moved to Pader for a job, but it was challenging because she didn’t know the language and couldn’t speak to anyone. She roamed around, staying where she could. Then she met the Pastor from Pader Community Church, who encouraged her faith. Miriam joined a bead group even though her vision wasn’t good; there, she found friends who cared for her and helped her make the jewelry there. She can’t thank God, the bead group and TWOPU enough for the changes made in her life. Miriam has recently adopted two orphaned children and one granddaughter.
In a culture where having babies is greatly valued, Santa didn’t fit in. She had the heartbreak of losing three children, causing her husband to reject her. Amidst her resulting depression, she moved to Pader to live with her cousin. Shortly after she began attending Pader Community Church where she accepted Jesus as her Savior. She began attending a women’s prayer group and the bead project, and her life began to change. She puts any extra money from the beads into a savings group, and they divide it up at the end of the year. People once looked at Santa as “the woman with no children”, but now she sees all children as her spiritual children, and has adopted six children in need of a home.
She left school after Primary 7 and came to Pader to attend a trade school where she learned to be a tailor. In 2015, she joined the bead project and from it was able to buy a sewing machine and fabric. This purchase allowed her to own a tailoring shop and has expanded to include baskets as well. Now she is a part of a five-woman team that make beautiful flowing pants and skirts for The Women of Pader Uganda (TWOPU) that are being sold in the U.S. Through the profit made from this; she has been able to make a good home for her mother and her son. She is so thankful for this ministry and for all the work she has been able to do.
Monica grew up with no father, no education and no money. She married, had 6 children, but left her husband and moved home to Lira with her children. Her sister also moved home but then abandoned her five children with Monica. Monica took all 11 children and moved to Pader to find a job. Just when she thought she was beginning to accumulate some money, thieves stole everything. At a point of ultimate desperation, she thought seriously of killing her children and herself. She began attending Pader Community Church, where she received hope and encouragement, partly through the bead project. Then she received a micro-loan from TWOPU and now has a shop at the farmers market. “The word of God gave me hope, and I see God’s hand in my business and children's lives. Now, I have money for food and rent.”
“God has been taking care of me up to this moment,” Agnes says. Her life in Pader began in a war camp, and she was one of three women chosen from the camp to be trained in tailoring. The skill continues to provide for her as she is part of the pants-making team for The Women of Pader Uganda (TWOPU). Starting as part of the bead-making team, and now the sewing team, her life has changed. She has bought a pig, school fees and clothes for her children from the money she has earned. She now feels at peace and has community because of the opportunities God has provided through TWOPU.
Janet has a knack for business; she just needed some guidance and encouragement to get her started. When the bead project came to Pader, she joined and found the encouragement she’d been seeking. With the money she earned from making and selling paper bead jewelry, she has been able to plant a garden, buy a chicken and buy clothes and medicine for her seven children. The encouragement she has received is being passed on to her children, one of whom now wants to become a teacher.
Abandoned by her parents for refusing to become a witch doctor, she was forced to get married and now has three children from that marriage. Her story began to change when she met Jesus in 2001, and continued to change when she began attending Pader Community Church in 2012, and in 2014, when she began taking part in the bead project. From the money Grace earns making beads, she has been able to buy four pigs, and has plans to buy goats. She is able to feed her children and pay their school fees, and is the spiritual director for the Pader school. “Before, I was a person with no hope,” she says, “Now, I hope for good things and a future.”
Margaret is a mother of two, and her husband has been working far away in Kampala for the last two years. She started a store in Pader in 2009, selling dried beans, tomatoes, potatoes, and onions. Because she was in an open-air market, people would often steal from her, causing her business to struggle. In 2017, Margaret received one of the first loans made by TWOPU and, with that money, could rent a shop on the main street where business is much better and safer.