Uganda Our Story

GOING HOME

After many years of living in Nairobi as a refugee and working at Amani, Simprosa left Kenya with her husband and children to return to their home country of Uganda. They returned to work for a local ministry and were posted in Simprosa’s hometown of Gulu.

Part of the ministry was dedicated to supporting needy women–especially those with HIV/AIDS–and women who had been abducted by rebel militias that had wrecked havoc in Northern Uganda. Working with these women was an opportunity for Simprosa to exercise the skills she had acquired during her years at Amani Kenya. Just as she had at Amani, Simprosa trained women to stitch.

SEEING A NEED

As she worked with this ministry, it became apparent that the program was not large enough to accommodate all the women in the community who were vulnerable and needy. Seeing women in desperate positions prompted Simprosa to look back on the state her life was in before she joined Amani. “As I prayed about it, I really felt for those ladies who had no place to turn,” she reflects.

CASTING A VISION

Simprosa didn’t have the money she knew she would need to start something on her own. She knew she would need money to buy materials and to be able to pay the ladies she was training. She decided to reach out to the Amani family in Kenya, the place where she first gained the skills and the vision to train and empower other women.

Simprosa travelled to Kenya and shared with the Amani leaders what she was witnessing in Uganda. She told them of her hopes to establish an Amani center in Uganda. As Amani Kenya has done in the past, it provided the initial capital and training Simprosa needed to get started.

PLANTING THE SEEDS OF A NEW AMANI COMMUNITY

With seed money for raw materials, two sewing machines, and a cutting table, Amani Uganda was born in June of 2011. Simprosa started with two ladies. They worked together to save up for future machines to accommodate others.

Amani Uganda is located in the city of Gulu in northern Uganda. The center is currently a one-room house. As of August 2014, there are 12 ladies working full-time and several more who join them occasionally as Amani has work for them. The ladies who come every day are very committed. They are hopeful that the center will grow and are encouraged by the progress they have already made.

Like its sister centers, Amani Uganda sets aside time to read the Bible and share a time of prayer and devotions. They also uniquely meet the needs of the women they are working with through discipleship and trauma rehabilitation. Simprosa hopes to one day introduce literacy and business classes.

GROWING

Amani Uganda has developed its own line of beautiful products using colors and materials unique to their region. The ladies specialize in wall hangings, purses, bags, Christmas ornaments, and stoles, with plans to introduce more products in the coming years. The ladies are excited about what they are doing and proud of what they are making. They say that this work gives them hope.

Simprosa and the ladies are determined to bring change to their community, even if starting out that change seems small. They are hopeful that in the future, they can reach more women in Northern Uganda, so that they too can have hope in God.

They face challenges like finding local markets, access to export channels, capital to buy more machines, and space constraints at their current center. Growth is slow, but Simprosa and the ladies are expectant about the future of this budding Amani center.

The vision is clear. Amani Uganda exists to be a community where women learn skills and earn a reliable income, but more fundamentally also to see their lives transformed by the peace that comes from above, “kuc ma malo.”