A note from Michelle, Founder, Amilia's Light:
We are so thrilled, to see how Teddy has changed her life, how she has grown, and is taking care of her young child- my namesake, Baby Michelle! (so naturally, I'm a bit biased on this). But reading the post below from Rachel, who interviewed Teddy a few weeks ago, I realized, that,
Together - we are truly making a difference,
one girl at a time!
Our numbers aren't huge, we're not saving thousands (well, at least, not yet...) but we are giving a leg up to trauma victims, whose needs are magnified, and who's level of support requires time, patience, care, psycho-social support, carefully planned reintegration and most of all...
Blog Post submitted by Rachel Tumwine - Uganda Liaison
The “baby’s father supports us when he can but he does petty work does not have enough money.” Teddy shares a small one-bedroom house with her sister and their two children. Their mother struggles to help them pay the rent, since they are not yet making enough money to be independent. “Sharing space with my sister is hard. We both don’t have much and we both have children to take care of. I hope to save some of my pay from working at 10,000 Lights Salon and rent a place for baby Michelle and myself.”
Teddy explains how Amilia’s Light continued to support her, after completing the Destiny Women Rehabilitation Program, by providing medical care and school fees, and helping her to set a path for her future. Teddy wanted to complete her senior four (high school diploma) and go on to university study. While in school, she underwent surgeries and physical therapy at one of Uganda’s best hospitals, specializing in corrective surgery for burn victims to repair her foot, which had been burned in a cooking accident, when she was a small child. She missed a lot of school during this time and later, during her pregnancy. But determined to make a better life for herself and her unborn child, she was able to finish her Ordinary Level Certificate at school.
After the baby was born, Teddy’s choices were limited. She needed money, for herself and her child, but without further schooling, finding a job was nearly impossible. “When Madam Miriam invited me to take part in the Empowerment Program, I had a small business making sandals. But the business was very hard; I did not have good skills. Now, (that I’m training, and learning while I work) when baby Michelle falls sick, at least I can have a little money to take her to hospital for treatment,” she says.
“I also make paper bead necklaces and bangles for Destiny Women, they are the ones that are sold by Amilia’s Light so that we can earn some extra money.” She is thankful for the opportunity to work in 10,000 lights Women’s Business Centre; “I now know how to wash customers’ hair, and also style it. I am also learning which style best suits different face types. It is good to be working with some people who know the business because they teach us a lot.” Teddy says, referring to the professional hair stylist mentors that she works alongside.
She further explains that she has also learned a lot about working together as a team and helping each other out as she works and relates with other girls at 10,000 Lights Women’s Business Center. Teddy dreams of starting her own business some day and she plans to integrate all the skills she has learned from being part of Destiny Women.