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Women of Akola — Jewelry Production

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Designing Her Story - Ampaire Charity


Ampaire Charity 

Everyday, we work with empowered women across all different social and cultural backgrounds. One of our greatest honors is getting to support and encourage people from all walks of life! In our "Designing Her Story" series, we will be introducing you to some of our very own Akola women!

Today, we're sharing the story of Ampaire Charity. Smart, loyal and extremely dedicated. Charity has worked hard at Akola since 2010. She is selfless and thinks about the needs of her children above all else and truly seeks to give back! She joined Akola in 2010 and was quickly promoted to a supervisor role. When she learned that the nearest school in her community was extremely far away, she participated in the Akola Academy and was inspired to start her very own school! She raised the money, rented a small piece of land and built a simple building to house the school. She opened her school, Fount of Grace in 2015 and currently has 120 students enrolled and teaches nursery to third grade. Her goal is to expand to teach up to 7th grade! We hope that you are as inspired by Charity's story as our team is.

Charity and her students

Describe your life's work:

I was born in a family, which was not well off and I started a bit of school up to P7 level then from that I got married, to a family which was not okay also. I had to struggle. I struggled by digging, making sure the home could survive. My target was to make sure I had enough food in my family, so I had to work hard to make sure my children had enough food for their life. I had friends who were working as missionaries in Uganda who loved me, they started to visit my home. When they were visiting my home, they started to share about God’s word. We had fellowship in my home. In that process that’s when I was encouraged by those missionaries to go to bible school and I joined Busoga bible school where I studied 2 years for the basic certificate. Then I added another 2 years for the advanced certificate for bible school. After my graduation I had a friend who was part ownership with Akola. He trained me on bead rolling and handcraft. During that training I also managed to get the certificate in handicraft. When that same friend of mine who made the partnership with Akola said they were looking for workers, I was among the 5 who were selected to come and start the designing with Akola.

I joined when it was just like simple work. They were saying it could take one week, after that they made it continue for a month, then after a month it became a year and I have worked here for 5 years now. After a year they appointed me to become a supervisor and they trained me to train the women in Nabukosi. I started to train 21 women in designing in what the organization wanted. After that I was promoted…I started the bible sharing. They selected me to work as the Wellness and Ministry Assistant. At that time I was promoted to become a staff which was so great on my side. It was a big achievement. From that I have been working with that and I have achieved some growth in my work, in my service, and now I have started to train more Ministry officers and I have some wellness officers in the village – Amina in Buwala….those are the wellness officers that I am leading. And I have 4 more ministry officers who are working on the village fellowship and Ngobi House bible study. At Ngobi house bible study I have some officers who are working with me. In the village we have trained 4 officers who are trained to read the Bible and lead bible study.

Since I started to grow I liked working with children. When I started working in the village as a supervisor, esp in Nabukosi I saw there were many children who were lacking education because they would stay at home all day. I would pray with them as I was trained in that…I started to teach them about Jesus, to sing songs….we would sing together during lunch hours and then after lunch they would go back home. That made them love me and develop friendships with them – they knew my name and I knew theirs. After a little while, Akola started Akola Academy to talk about how we would work towards our goals. I came up with a goal to start a school. That school was all about Jesus and God because it is in my heart because I started with that Bible school and worked with Akola towards that mission towards God’s way. I started a school with the foundation of Christianity.

My trainer at AA said it would be good to boost my vision, my goal. I started to make the strategies of how I can start it. I shared with my friend Edith and she bought into my idea and she said it’s so good to have that development in that community. And indeed she joined me and contributed some money and it made us buy some wood, timbers, to start a temporary construction to build a temporary building to where the children could learn. We selected two teachers within the community to teach and develop a syllabus to teach the government curriculum in that area. They are doing well because now we have two teachers (Jared and Gina). That’s where I am…and I’m hoping to continue with that strategy towards my goal because I’m hoping to grow with that school….right now I am renting that land and I am hoping to get more books, exam papers, etc because the parents can’t afford that. At the moment I am still having that struggle to fulfill that vision of mine because I need money to cover the rent of that place where I’m working from. The children are enjoying that school, they are proud of that. That’s why I am continuing to work towards this goal.

Charity's school.

Walk us through a day in your world:

In my family when I wake up in the morning, I first visit my garden before I prepare myself to come for work. From my garden I pick some veg for my children to prepare for lunch. I take my breakfast, then I bathe, then I have to prepare to come for work. Coming to work, I usually use the boda boda in the morning because it’s a bit of a distance – when I walk in the morning I get more tired and it disturbs my work during the day (the boda boda costs – 2000 UGX). Then when I reach my work, I eat lunch from work. I have to perform all the duties my boss gives me because I like my work, I like my job. I have to respond, I have to be a good listener, I have to see that Akola can develop and grow. We perform very well every duty. I usually leave the work at 5 (start at 9), by leaving that work I have to foot [walk] home. Because there is no need to worry I will be late. I foot because I want my body to be strong and I need some exercise. I prepare supper for my family. I get some vegs that I collected in the morning – it takes me 3 hours to prepare this supper/meal. I eat supper at 9:30. Then I sit with my family and we sing some songs from the Christian songs. Then I converse/chat with my children. Then we pray, after praying then we can go to bed, at 11.

Where do you draw your motivation from?

I think the friendship that I got from Akola leadership. The Akola leadership has done me so good because the mission itself of Akola, the vision. They are motivating me to keep moving within the environment that makes me, that gives me courage to grow and to do better. They are giving us trainings, they are giving us leadership, which is giving us the needs that we can use in our daily life. Akola is providing all of that and it gives me a good life to continue to grow, to look for more and to grow higher and higher – development, spiritually - it has motivated me in many ways. The spirituality that it has given me gives me hope to hope and grow towards the best.

How have you surprised yourself?

When I was young I struggled to see that I can be okay, I can be fine. Having a good life, having the needs I could get, I could want was not all that possible until I was old – because I have been struggling so much since 18 years until I was married, I continued struggling. Then I had 4 children. When I started, got a chance, to have that dream of being fine, that’s when my dream was fulfilled. I had never had such a job that would be paying me money as Akola is doing now. It had always been my prayer, that I would have a job like this. So I was praying to God so he can provide for me, a better work than digging [farming], at least I could live a better life. I struggled until I was 47 years when I joined Akola. That’s when God answered my prayers and he gave me this job of Akola. It has given me peace and it has given me what I prayed to God – that I get a job I could be paid monthly. I am so grateful and thankful.

Charity's students.

What is the most valuable insight you have gained in your work?

During my period of working with Akola I have really enjoyed this period because I have learned a lot – for example, I have learned how to make good friends, how to communicate with others, and even how to make some strategies about development. I think I have really gained some value from being in Akola. 

What personality traits play an essential role in your work and growth? Why?

I am social, I really like to learn, and I’m a good listener. So, all of that has helped me have such impact so that I am growing because I like it – I want to grow, I’m yearning to grow, I have that interest in growth. That strength within me has helped me to socialize with people who will always support me.

Who do you admire most as a successful woman and why?

I think I admire the way my mom was struggling with her family and she gave me a good example of resisting the situations because she got married at my dad’s home and my dad was not all good and time came when my dad leftus, left my family, he didn’t leave us with anything, no land to dig, with a small grass house. The way I like my mom most is because our mom stood with us, she supported us with the little she could get. We had no clothes, only 1 dress, my brother only had one shirt. And my mom was struggling to see that we could eat, that we could go to the government school. We didn’t study far because my mom couldn’t manage it but she was encouraging it and she had to stand with us when my dad left us. Our mom, after encouraging us, she taught us how to work hard, that’s why I love her – she would take us into the garden, while she digged she would tell us good stories, telling us we would be fine. I loved my mom because she was a strong woman who would stand with her family. It helped me to stand with my children in certain situations. And by doing that, our mom has succeeded because we have grown up and we can help her – I continue to give her some of my salary to help her with her needs now too because she worked very hard for us when we were still young. At least now she has succeeded because she sees us working and we support her.

Looking into the future, how do you want to grow?

I think as I grow I think I would like to have enjoyable old age. That I could be having my good home, finished, and I would like to have projects that can help me in my old age. That’s why I planned to have such a school because as I grow I want to be a busy old woman, not just to sleep, but I want to be an active old woman. I want to chat with the children in my school, teach them – I have a lot to share with them. I have many stories. That’s how I want my old age to be because I want to be a busy old woman who is earning because even though I am old I still need to have some money to support me. That’s the way I want to my life to be.

Looking into the future, how do you want to grow?

I think as I grow I think I would like to have enjoyable old age. That I could be having my good home, finished, and I would like to have projects that can help me in my old age. That’s why I planned to have such a school because as I grow I want to be a busy old woman, not just to sleep, but I want to be an active old woman. I want to chat with the children in my school, teach them – I have a lot to share with them. I have many stories. That’s how I want my old age to be because I want to be a busy old woman who is earning because even though I am old I still need to have some money to support me. That’s the way I want to my life to be.

What advice would you give a young Charity?

I really like to share with young growing girls that those girls who are still growing I like to share with them about my life, the way I have struggled, the way I have grown, the way I have succeeded. I want to tell them that they can relax, that they can have goals, that they should love their God because he is the provider – to keep that relationship with God because with God all things are possible. That’s usually my encouragement with young girls, and even to stand for their rights and to support their words, their thoughts.

Where do you find the most joy?

In my good moments, when I have good moments I usually listen to Christian music, and it encourages me and it gives me joy because I like music – I like music a lot and I think it is that which gives me joy. Sometimes when my pocket is having some money, with salary, I have joy because I can give my family what it needs and there I also find joy – listening to music and having money.

What are you looking most forward to with the holiday season?

After getting my holiday package, I am planning to visit my mom and I will just spend a few days there, then I will come back to my family where I will spend Christmas day with my family. My children like to eat rice and chicken and I will buy that for their Christmas gift, to have a good meal while celebrating the birth of Jesus. They can keep on their mind that when Jesus is born things are very good (good meals). It will be remaining in their memories that on the day of Jesus’s birth things are very good, because everything is good. When it remains in their life things are good they can remember that Christ is the best.

Charity leading Akola Academy.

Do you always create a big meal or do you have any other favorite things that you repeat?

My family knows that when Christmas is coming it means big, big things! They know it will be a special one, we will eat special things, we will receive gifts from their friends. In the course of the year we don’t always have such a day as Christmas in my home. It is once in a year which is very special!

Do you have a dressing you wear that makes you feel more powerful than others?

I have nothing which I can put on that makes me feel extra special. I put on any dressing and I can’t think much about that dressing but I think about giving my children the best meal rather than putting on a best dress. When I have something to put on then that is enough for me. I don’t feel like I’m really strong because I have put on something – I’m simply okay with any dressing.

Describe your favorite meal and favorite drink?

I think my favorite meal is when I eat and prepare. I usually like to eat mixed food, like a small portion of posho, with small sweet potato, and small matooke, that can be a favorite meal for me, especially with gnut sauce! Then, my best drink there is my local drink called “Bush” it is prepared from millet and sogum (a certain plant which we dig in western Uganda and it prepares a good drink, sometimes that’s what they use to brew the beer). I usually make it! And I’m going to make it for my Christmas. It gives strength because it has a lot of protein and it hydrates.