On the evening of 26th August 2016, Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG) officially unveiled the handmade products by their members under the economic empowerment project. They showcased shoes that were designed by the members who underwent the week long course. Through the same project, FARUG trained its members in the use of poetry as an advocacy tool.
Funded by Amplify Change, FARUG initiated the economic empowerment project where organization members would acquire skills for poverty eradication as well as empower them with economic sustainability.
During the unveiling, the individuals that attended the training showcased recycled shoes as well as brand new ones that were given an African touch by the mere use of fabric. A documentary highlighting the events that took place during the training was also premiered; it covered the training sessions as well as the journey to the finished products.
While launching the results of this venture, Joanita Senfuka Wary the Executive Director of Freedom and Roam Uganda-FARUG explained that the sole purpose of this project was to help LGBTI individuals attain skills to help them fend for themselves as well as earn a living.
“The aim of this project is to equip members with skills to be used for sustainability purposes; some of us are not working and others are working but earning little and through a project like this, you can make shoes or write poems at home and sell the shoes to earn a living or add on to what you have been earning,” she said.
She also pointed out the reality, that as a marginalized cluster in society, the LGBTI community in Uganda is challenging stigma with such projects since the wider society perceives us to be incompetent. By showing the world that we can provide for ourselves, she said, we continue to break barriers and find ways of creating equal opportunities for ourselves.
Ms Warry also announced that with the project having been officially launched, members were to start making shoes for commercial purposes and that the already finished pieces were up for purchase for any interested clients.
Shivan Pavin, a FARUG member and musician by profession shared her sentiments as one of the immediate beneficiaries of the initiative. She said the project had changed her life and was excited to start putting her newly acquired skills to use.
With the economic space being one of the most problematic areas for Uganda’s LGBTI community, projects like FARUG’s economic empowerment initiative continue to bring to the fore front the skills that are so often not recognized in Uganda’s sexual and gender minorities’ community and also provide a source of livelihood to many.
To make any purchases or support this project in any other way, please contact Freedom and Roam Uganda at [email protected]