Of the 8 million people living below the poverty line in Uganda – which is $170 per YEAR – the majority are women. According to New Vision in 2013: Overall, 27% of the chronically poor households in rural areas are headed by women with the percentage rising to 40% in the urban setting. The percentage of all women-headed households has gone from about 24.2% in 1994 to nearly 30% in 2008 (the last available data).
Also from the New Vision article: [Women] are the most illiterate, the most involved in ungainful employment or work where they don’t get paid.
Among women in Uganda, the prevalence of HIV/AIDS is 5.4%, compared to 2.4% of men. Almost all of the women in the Ndoto co-ops are HIV positive.
Because of the growing trend of men having extramarital sexual relations, a growing number of women also have STDs and a high incidence of cancers of the female reproductive organs, like the lady in the photo above, a hospice patient.
While the percentage of girls in Ugandan schools has risen tremendously in the last 10 years, girls face hurdles that boys don’t: many cannot attend school during their menstrual cycles because they don’t have access to sanitary pads; there is cultural pressure to marry young, because of the “bride price” families traditionally receive from the groom’s family, especially in rural areas; if finances dictate that only one child’s school fees can be paid, a boy will be sent to school over a girl. Since only half of Ugandan children attend school because of fees and access, this can add significantly to the prospect of a girl getting beyond a basic education. Education is the most determining factor in whether a household lives in poverty or not.
“…when women gain control over spending, less family money is devoted to instant gratification and more for education and starting small businesses.” Sheryl WuDunn,
- Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.
Statistics show that when women in poor nations are given the opportunity to control some or all of their family’s finances, good things happen.
The women in the Ndoto Project are widows in desperate need of opportunity and sustainable income.
Your purchase of one of their handmade gift items can not only bless a friend, family member (or yourself!) this Christmas, it will give these women hope for their future. Gifts that give back truly change the trajectory of entire families!