Dear Into Your Hands Friends,
I want to introduce you to my new friend Benna. I met Benna on my trip to Uganda last month. She rode up to our Women’s entrepreneurship group on her motorcycle. I was immediately captivated by her smile, and the bumper stickers on her bike that read: Into Your Hands. Nice marketing and we hadn’t even started the class! As Kristy and I taught an Introduction to Business class to forty or so aspiring women entrepreneurs, Benna continued to capture my attention. She asked relevant questions during the opportunities and challenges portion of the workshop and sought to encourage her peers throughout the training.
When I asked her what business opportunity she was exploring, she explained several. She already had pigs, which started from a single pig gifted by Into Your Hands. Now she has nine in her piggery and is considered a local consultant and role model for Into Your Hands and other organizations on pigs. Benna also attended one of our Community Development Association workshops on drought resistant crops that helped her family with their coffee plantation. She and her husband had hired a local farmer to support them with their businesses but they want to expand. Does she grow existing businesses like pigs and coffee or does she try something new like poultry? This women’s enterprise workshop had her considering the opportunity, diversity of income versus the challenges and lack of specific poultry knowledge.
Benna was taken aback when I put my hands on her shoulders, hugged her lightly and told her she was my hero. I’m still not sure how that was translated, but she put her hands on mine, smiled and made sure I knew I was invited to visit her home.
I have to tell my friends, the people who support us; this is what happens, when we provide the resources through Into Your Hands to Ugandans like Benna. Into Your Hands translates those resources into 350 enterprise projects like Benna’s pig and reaches over 750 community members through Community Development Groups where Benna learned about drought resistant coffee crops.
And at our annual event, we began raising money for the 53 women in this group to participate in a women’s enterprise training program beginning next year. Maybe Benna’s local employee was the father of one our 200 students through our Hands of Hope program in 2016. The translator for Benna and I, Ronald, an Into Your Hands intern, had been one of our scholarship students when I last visited 8 years ago. I realized as I waved Benna away on her motorcycle, we are all connected. I am joined with you through your interest, passion and history with Into Your Hands. We are joined with communities in Uganda, people we don’t know, haven’t met. Motorcycles with stickers on them, women expanding a pig business sponsored by one of you from one piglet into nine and changing village lives by hiring others, who then send their children to school, who then pay another teacher. And the ripples go on.
Thank you for helping us be connected and make ripples a world away. Please stay passionate and involved with our resourceful and learning communities in Uganda. It is truly miraculous what we can do together.