Written by Jade Sweeney from Watoto Australia
I’d love to tell you about Watoto’s newest fundraising campaign: Graduate to Greatness.
But first, let me share a story.
Earlier this year, I felt compelled to give a gift to a person who I respect greatly. Filled with confidence, I set out to my local shopping centre and purchased the perfect item. I arrived home and placed the item in a prime location – on my bookshelf. For the next few months, the shelf became the gift’s place of residence. It lived there, it gathered dust there, it was seemingly going to retire there. I would look at the gift daily, overthinking how it would be received. I even considered keeping it for myself, it’s not like anyone would ever know. Right? Pride, fear and awkwardness kept me in a state of frozen inaction.
After spending way too much time and energy on attempting to validate my inaction, I decided it was time to give the gift to its rightful heir.
On my way to see the gift-recipient, I ran into a good friend and asked whether they might give the gift on my behalf. The words my friend said in response were nothing short of profound.
“No, you take it. It will be good for them to see you.”
That comment re-aligned my whole thought process. It reminded me that we should give as if our gift matters, as if our presence matters. We should speak as if our words matter. We should live as if our lives matter. It made me realise that what I had to offer was something worthwhile and that I should confidently bring my gift and know it would add value to its recipient.
I guess the question is, how does this relate to empowering women in Uganda?
Since 2008, Living Hope has been a program that teaches some of Uganda’s most vulnerable women a craft or marketable skill as well as educating them with business principles to enable them to start their own businesses. In doing so, women are empowered to create a sustainable life of dignity for themselves and their families.
In December, 450 women will graduate from this program.
Our hope is to gift each of these women with the physical tools they will need to start their Hair Braiding, Paper Bag Making, Soap Making, Bread Making or Tailoring businesses.
Let’s be up front, today I’m asking you to consider giving a monetary gift towards the futures of these amazing women. However, outside of that context, I wonder whether there might be a gift that you have been holding, perhaps in a state of frozen inaction? Words of encouragement, talents, that business idea?
Whatever it is that you have to give – it is worthwhile. Whether it is small or large, collectively, we can help these women see a future beyond their current realities.
Beyond this campaign, we can engage with and empower our own spheres of influence through the gifts that we have been given.
PS: You might be wondering whether I actually gave my gift in the end? Yes, I did! That feeling of releasing something that was never mine to hold on to, was powerful. The gift was a timely encouragement to the recipient. The fear leading up to that moment was unfounded in the end, but perhaps an important part of the overall process (hey, who knows what I would have written on this blog without it?)