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30-year-old Brenda Asimwe skilling Kasangati women

By Kyle Duncan Kushaba

Added 23rd October 2018 09:34 AM

Asiimwe works to provide women with trainings in financial literacy, tailoring, jewelry making, cosmetology, hairdressing among other skills.

Brendaasiimwefounderanddirectorofchildmoderncare 703x422

Brenda Asimwe, founder and director of Child Modern Care, a non-profit organisation. Photos by Kyle Duncan Kushaba

Asiimwe works to provide women with trainings in financial literacy, tailoring, jewelry making, cosmetology, hairdressing among other skills.

In the third world, there is so much we see and ignore on a day to day basis but God has a reason why amongst us he chooses certain people to bleed on behalf of  others’ needy situations.

30-year-old Brenda Asiimwe is blessed to have a heart that bleeds for her community, a reason she decided to rally vulnerable women in her neighbourhood of Kasangati, Wakiso district and together they are devising means to make sure their children don’t starve amidst the daily tough challenges.

  Asiimwe poses with some of the children under her care

Her non-profit organisation called Child Modern Care is not only empowering women in the area but most importantly giving hope to the leaders of tomorrow.

Born to the late Mambo Bazeire Jackson and Musiime Safina in the Kisenyi suburb of Mbarara town on January 2nd 1988, 30-year-old Brenda Asiimwe wasn’t born with much but that didn’t deter her dream of seeing children around her happy with at least a meal for the day.

 “Growing up in a place like Kisenyi where boys and girls grew up to become drug dealers, marijuana smokers, prostitutes and thieves I felt like the status quo had to change. A child has a right to become somebody and this is why I do what I do. No child should sleep hungry or fail to see the  inside of a classroom.”

 Asiimwe attended Uganda Martrys Primary School in Mbarara, Hornby High School in Kabale, Masheruka Girls School in Bushenyi and Mbarara University of Science and Technology where she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration.

Married to Solomon Kayondo with whom they have two children Esther and Joshua, Asiimwe gleefully mentions how her husband has been so supportive on this very challenging journey to empower vulnerable mothers and forge a living for their children in Kasangati, Wakiso district.

  hildren pose with the scholastic materials  Children pose with the scholastic materials

 

 Beginnings

While a student at Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Asiimwe started hawking clothes around hostels at campus and somehow got a reputation of some sorts within her peers which made her some good money that helped her pay her own tuition and helped her mother and siblings at home.

Asiimwe recalls that a friend of hers paid a bus ticket for her to  Nairobi, Kenya so she could learn more about the business of clothes, shoes and jewelry and after that she could order for better quality and import the merchandise to Kampala by herself.

Within a year she was a very popular distributor of good clothes and shoes all around Mbarara, Bushenyi, Kabale and Ntungamo.

Within a short period of time, she had moved to the central business district in Kampala as business had grown bigger.

 hildren also receive meals from hild odern are Children also receive meals from Child Modern Care

 

She set up a shop at City centre complex in the middle of Kampala and business didn’t disappoint for a while but as business is, Asiimwe started registering a lot of dead stock (clothes and shoes that would even stay a year in the store) which made her lose money. During that trial time, her landlord even locked up her shop for months which left her stranded with a lot of stock.

One eventful evening in 2014 as she sauntered around Kiwatule where she stayed at the time, Asiimwe met a mother and her kids being thrown out for not paying their Ush30,000 rent and broke into tears.

The children were malnourished and their mother looked worse because the father had long left them. The benevolent Asiimwe, though struggling at the time gave them most of the clothes she had as dead stock and hoped on a miracle to get capital and reopen her business.

Back home in Mbarara, she rallied her friends to collect all the clothes they never needed and delivered them to the needy at Daystar Cathedral in Mbarara town on a monthly basis which goes to show that benevolence isn’t a trait she just acquired. Asiimwe is naturally a giver. 

In March 2017, a lawyer friend of Asiimwe who used to donate most of his wardrobe to her advised her to register a non-governmental organisation so she could reach more children and vulnerable women all over Uganda. She took heed of the advice and that’s how her Child Modern Care non-profit organisation was born.

Objectives of Child Modern Care

The organisation since its inception has been aiming at providing small scale income generating activities for the vulnerable women in Kasangati, Wakiso district to ensure sustainability.

Asiimwe gives these women and their children access to medical facilities, counseling and moral support. All she needs is for these women to be able to raise their young children in a way so comfortable.

Asiimwe works to provide women with trainings in financial literacy, tailoring, jewelry making, cosmetology, hairdressing among other skills. She insists that one would rather skill these women than handing them donations which is not feasible.

After doing a survey both in Mbarara and Kasangati, Asiimwe found out that very many children lack adequate support in terms of school fees, scholastic materials and basic needs like food, clean water and decent shelter and through her organisation, the main objective is to provide for them.  

“The level of malnourishment is alarming here in Kasangati and what’s worse is that the mothers to such children are also in a terrible shape one would wonder why they continue having children at all.

After engaging these women, I found out that some were either raped or engaged in prostitution hence the life they are subjected to now. Since most of these women are unemployable, it only means that they will only raise rascals who will cause insecurity in the area. This is why I took it upon myself to sensitise these women for a better tomorrow,'' Asiimwe says.

 Children line up to receive books

 

Achievements

Asiimwe has managed to skill over 50 Kasangati women in areas of poultry keeping, piggery, small scale farming of edibles like onions and tomatoes, catering and bakery, hairdressing and cosmetology as well as tailoring.

She says  more women are coming to their routine meetings to learn skills and nothing makes her happier than seeing these women turning into responsible citizens who can fend for themselves and their children.

Up to 28 children have been placed in school at Watuba Primary School and Honest Junior School all in Kasangati town council. Asiimwe tells us that she spends close to ush3m every term on these children.

Asiimwe proudly tells us that she has successfully kicked off a mums’ club where every week each mothers collects ush2,000 in her quest to teach them how to save. She has books where she records each woman’s input and usually avails the money in case of emergencies.

“We have a mini bakery where we bake with my 50 women every weekend using the money we save. We sell our cakes to the local shops around Jokolera village and the rest of Kasangati town council.

Even though orders are still small, we hope to publicise our works more until the rest of Uganda knows that we Kasangati women are here to feed the nation”. Asiimwe delightedly speaks.

The women have also had the chance to learn how to do crafts, beads and make liquid soap.

With her team, Asiimwe has also managed to do outreaches specifically around Kiteso village in Kisenyi downtown Kampala and occasionally at the Katalemwa Children’s Hospital in Kasangati where they provide children with food, toys and clothes.

Asiimwe notes that her husband has helped her acquire an acre of land in Kasangati for further growth of Child Modern Care and on this land they are currently grazing a few goats and one cow. She shyly says that her aunt gave her two cows but up to now she has failed to get transport to go to Mbarara and pick them.

Funding

Asiimwe says she entirely depends on well-wishers and her personal savings which goes to show that her infant organisation is still struggling and in need of more hands to cover a vast area and not just Kasangati town council. She also runs a poultry farm and all the money from eggs is spent on activities to empower women as well as clear school fees for their children.

Directors of Child Modern Care

Challenges

Like any other project, there must be challenges one must brave to survive.

“We had a home at first with 15 girls but the rent was too much and we were kicked out so we had to get foster homes for these girls. The helpers we entrust our children with also demand too much because they think we have a lot of money.

Another pressing issue is that people often offer us items like clothes and food stuffs but transporting these items is a huge problem because we don’t have the financial muscle to run all the activities as yet” Asiimwe says.

Asiimwe also notes out that she and her team get insulted by people because they are believed to be ripping off the local women of their money. Some people refer to her as a thief.

Sadly, most people think she is HIV-positive because she takes it upon herself to pick ARVs for some of her HIV-positive women. She says it makes her uneasy but she is used to the insults since she signed up for this cause.

 Sarah Kasolo, 45, one of the beneficiaries of the project

Way forward

Asiimwe hopes that the future will be brighter as she plans to build a school on the one acre her and her husband bought for the project. The kids she is paying school fees for could be accommodated in her own school if it started.

She also hopes to build a home to accommodate most of the vulnerable kids. Asiimwe says she gets very many homeless children coming to her for shelter and a meal but she cannot harbor them all so she believes a home for such destitute children would help a great deal.

Asiimwe says she prays to God every day to get enough money to build a vocational institution to skill women in areas of bakery and catering, hairdressing and cosmetology, carpentry, tailoring among other skills and even award them certificates.

What other say

 Annet Mutuuzo, beneficiary

Most people call me Nalongo, I have two beautiful twin girls who have got so much help from Child Modern Care. I don’t have a job so all their school needs are catered for by Madam Asiimwe. I was lucky to be picked among the few women who were trained to make baskets and now I can afford  to feed my girls. God is good.

 Sarah Kasolo, beneficiary

At some point, I contemplated suicide because my children had nothing to eat and no school fees. The pressure was too much until God sent us an angel in Brenda Asiimwe here in our village of Jokolera Kasangati. She has trained us to make beads and baskets to complement our little income we make from small scale farming. I am so grateful for her.

 

 

 

 

 

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