“People think that stories are shaped by people. In fact, it’s the other way around.” Terry Pratchett
Fabric of Life came to fruition, and has been shaped by the stories, an English woman Daina Leigh, witnessed and experienced on her trip as a volunteer leader in Uganda with youth-led development agency Restless Development in 2015. Working with young Ugandans on development projects in the local villages, Daina learned about the challenges they face in making a living and creating a worthwhile career. In a country where the government, education system and job marketplace is producing little opportunity for youth to take those vital steps into adulthood, there is an atmosphere of anger and lack of ambition within communities, creating an environment of hopelessness and harmful behaviours that are having negative impact; creating large gaps and mistrust between generation of community members.
Encouraged by the ultimate potential and opportunity that she saw during her trip, Daina returned to Uganda the same year. The focus of her trip was to reach out to potential partners who would support her in creating a social enterprise that would nurture the next generation of textile designers into savvy social entrepreneurs, who are able to create their own sustainable businesses, whilst also raising the aspiration and skills of their peers and community members to be able to do the same.
From a simple idea, seeded from stories and experience, Fabric of Life is now at a point of great potential and is being developed within Hip-Hop youth movement the Bavubuka Foundation. Within the next twelve months, Fabric of Life will be providing young aspiring fashion designers with the skills, experience, knowledge and platforms, necessary to nurture their talents into successful textile businesses. Additionally it will be working in partnership with a UK fashion educational institution, and will be providing education, innovation, and support, to a Ugandan fashion industry that is currently under-resourced and undervalued.
Key to the fabric of the programme; Fabric of Life will be taking the young participants on a journey into understanding their own story and hopes for the future, as it is within these stories and dreams that the world will get to see their unique lives, and it is within this journey of self-discovery that the young fashion designers will develop tools of resilience and distinctiveness, essential to thrive in a global fashion industry that is very competitive
Fabric of Life is not just another development project delivered by an NGO in Uganda. It is a chance for the world to engage and witness the tremendous untapped potential and raw talent of Uganda, talent that is busy hustling every day overcoming challenges and celebrating in the joy and authenticity of the country and continent.