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Basket-making in Uganda: How Your Gifts Are Changing Deborah's Life

by Missy Ward Angalla

Amani Sasa seeks to minister with and among refugees through offering safety, wholeness and empowerment so that they can live into their full God-given potential. We do this by meeting people where they are, offering emergency support and counseling, in-depth trauma rehabilitation and empowerment programs for refugees who are most vulnerable and at risk within our community.

Since our program began 7 years ago, the biggest challenge that we have had is our program graduates having access to safe, sustainable employment and economic income. Though the Ugandan government allows refugees the right to work, the unemployment rate in Uganda is above 50%, even for Ugandans. The economic sector that is growing, however, is entrepreneurship. At Amani Sasa we help refugees start their own small businesses through providing start-up capital.

We have been very grateful for the way The Off Ramp has come alongside of Amani Sasa to provide training for 8 refugee women to learn the important skill of basket-making. Through your support, these 8 women will receive training for three months with a professional trainer and the start-up capital they need in order to start their own business.

Deborah is one of the 8 basketmakers that The Off Ramp supports. She is 21 years old. She came to Uganda in 2013 after fleeing war and unrest in her home country. She is one of 8 children. When we first met Deborah, she and her family were living on less than $1 per day. They struggled to survive. Deborah engaged in survival behaviors and got pregnant.

When I first met Deborah, she had very low self-esteem, high levels of trauma and her 2-year-old daughter was severely malnourished. We invited Deborah and her daughter to enroll in our women's shelter program. Through this program, Deborah had the opportunity to experience healing and transformation. Still, when she graduated, she struggled to find safe work. The basket-making program was started to provide women like Deborah with tangible skills that they could use to make beautiful baskets to be sold in Kampala and the US.

We are grateful for The Off Ramp's partnership with Deborah and others. Your gifts are making a big difference in Deborah's life!

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