Making the decision to fully immerse myself in my work as the founder of Fabric of Life, and supporting the Bavubuka foundation, was one of the scariest choices I have ever made. Choosing to spend all of my time focused on serving communities in Uganda was not difficult, it is a dream for me to do so, but having the confidence to financially support myself and the projects without any supporting jobs was frightening and unknown.
Navigating the non-profit sector in the realms of fundraising, grant writing, social enterprise and organisational collaboration has been such a huge learning curve, which continues to challenge me greatly on a daily bases. Mostly it has been trial and error, and on some days can feel mostly like error! I have particularly felt challenged with delving into enterprise, branding and marketing with Fabric of Life, which has been essential to the programmes sustainability and ability to deliver fashion workshops in the community.
Each day I have been striving to grow my knowledge and skills with using online platforms to raise awareness of the work and products, and in trying to find local markets that would give me access to new audiences and supporters. This process really requires resilience and bravery. There have been many small rejections, or imperfect situations and barriers that have been difficult to navigate. It is a constant effort to refocus my mind to focus on what is achievable, what I am able to do, and how I can change my approach to reach success.
My main encouragement and motivator, the thing that doesn’t allow me quit, are the people and communities back in Uganda that are excited and willing to work. I have felt so connected to the women within Fabric of Life, more than any of my other work I have been involved in in Uganda. Drawing from my own experiences as a young women who has felt so challenged throughout my life, trying to understand my purpose and have the confidence to commit to my dreams and aspirations, I can totally empathise with their journeys.
All the women involved are at vital times in their lives, where with the right support and guidance, they could achieve so much and have a huge impact on their own, their families, and their communities lives. Our fashion designer mentors Charity Priscilla and Kebirungi Nina are in key positions to guide these young women in growing their unique gifts, and in creating an environment where their authentic voices and stories can be celebrated. I am very grateful for their love and dedication to fashion, and to guiding the next generation of designers.
Today is the first day of our My True Story Beyond Fashion community workshops in M-LISADA. I want to shout from the rooftops with my excitement that this programme is beginning. I am shouting because of the brilliant knowledge and skills the young people will learn, for the story and experiences the young women will have and share, and for the creative possibilities that will reveal themselves moving forward.
Good luck to everyone!