About Our Byline
Every human being needs to experience love. Not only the love of people, but also the love of God.
When love is not experienced, it often leads to low self-esteem, poor decisions, anger and feelings of rejection. (please read our section on Who We Serve) But love is not only a feeling, it's also an action. We aim to love the girls who choose to come, in as many ways as we can think of. We also want to help them come to the realisation that God loves them, and always has.
So, we will be trying to have the attitude of Jesus, by being servant leaders. We will listen to their ideas and, where appropriate, implement them. We will give them opportunities to take on appropriate responsibilities. We will reward them when they succeed and encourage them when they fail. We will put standards of behaviour in place and where they are not displayed, will model love & forgiveness in dealing with conflict.
We believe that these actions will result in the girls creating a kingdom community, where everyone contributes and everyone feels loved and accepted.
A pipe dream, you say!!
Well, why should be aim for anything less??
Where We Operate
The people living on the slopes of Mount Elgon, including the people of Bukwo, are called the "Sabiny", while the region is called Sebei. The Sabiny and smaller groups in Kenya, are collectively referred to as the "Sabaot". The Sabaot are one of the nine sub-tribes of the Kalenjins who migrated from Egypt where they were guards of the Pharaohs.
Each Sabiny belongs to a clan & this is the first thing a person wants to know about a stranger. A man cannot change clan affiliation, except when clans split apart. Clans have a strong spiritual hold on their members and are even seen as having a kind of genetic inheritance of traits.
There are some two hundred separate clans among the Sabiny, though a definitive list cannot be made. Each clan is composed of the descendants of a single founder. They can be traced to the towns of Kapchorwa, Bukwo and Kween. The beautiful & famous Sipi Falls is only about 15 km southwest of Kapchorwa.
The Sabiny are known for their female genital mutilation; they also circumcise their men. Parents marry off their girls early because the boy brings a bride price to the girl’s parents, in exchange for the girl. In cases where a girl has not been mutilated, the dowry is not paid. In addition, the girl is not allowed to milk a cow or get food for the granary; this is done to shame the girl because she hasn’t been mutilated. If the boy marries when he has not been circumcised, he is not respected and neither is his family.
The Sabiny are usually subsistence farmers who grow maize, beans and wheat. They are known to be very hospitable and friendly people and some are talented long-distance runners, with Kapchorwa rapidly becoming known as a superpower in international running.
Who We Serve
The Life of a Young Girl in Bukwo
The majority of the community does not value girls valued at all! They are mostly looked at for their dowry.
And the statistics are really high for child marriages, very high for teenage pregnancy, very high for school dropouts. This is because most parents see girls as property; therefore, there is no need to invest in their education or the skills required to make a living.
When a girl gets pregnant, her parents rush to the boy’s family to ask for money & informs them of the possible fines that may be imposed. However, the parents normally take all the money, leaving none for the girl to raise her child. Sometimes, she is forced to marry and so, is in the hands of her husband who, most times, is just a young boy. Mistreatment often begins early in the marriage.
Most women & girls do not own any property at all. They are not considered an heir when the family property is being divided. Similarly, when a husband dies, his property is split between his brothers and none goes to his widow.
In this community, there are very few mentors or role models. When they reach Senior Four at school (Year 10 in Australia), most girls do not know what they want to become. Some don't even know why they are at school or what her role is in the community or in the body of Christ. They do not know the purpose of their life!
Parents are fearful about talking to their daughters about the important things in life, like the stages of their growth, the dangers of having sex at a young age, the dangers of early pregnancy and what an early pregnancy robes them of. They are not told about the beauty and value of being a girl, God’s purpose for their lives as girls or the great things they can do, both in the community and the kingdom of God.
What Does Kalyet Want for these Girls?
First & foremost, we want these girls to know that God loves them and values them.
We want these girls to know that God created them for a purpose, a better & greater one than their community knows about.
We want to raise up a team of girls who will stand strong & enjoy a full life, and not only be looked upon as a source of money.
We want the girls to be be strong and rooted in Christ, the hope of glory.
We want them to embrace and love their lives. We want them to take care of their bodies as the temple of the Holy Spirit, and not be looked upon as a sex object for any man.
We want these girls to be creative, innovative & hard working, so they can own property and transform their lives. We want them to be people who can impact their community and change the mindset of many, for the glory of the Lord.
We want them to be leaders, role models, teachers & mentors in their community.
We want these girls to cause an awakening in their parents, teachers, pastors & politicians, so that they know that girls desire much more than what the community is currently offering.
We want create a generation of Bukwo girls who have dignity, honesty, transparency, humility & high self-esteem; who are focused, know their worth and go after it.
We want them to create a living kingdom culture & will be working hard to help them achieve just that!!
What About Our Training?
Our training is integral to our goals and each part of out training has a purpose. There are two main types -
Training in Jesus likeness:
This training will concentrate on developing personal character by looking at various attributes of Jesus - issues such as humility, integrity, faithfulness, generosity, forgiveness, love, honesty, transparency etc, all in interactive sessions where we will try and have the girls discover the truth together, for themselves. The Bible will be our guide and where possible, everyday examples or scenarios will be used, so that these truths are seen as very relevant to their situations. Sharing of their personal experiences will be encouraged, but never forced - this will increase their trust in each other and add to their sense of community.
Jesus also cared for others! As opportunities present themselves, we'll be encouraging the girls to not only look to their own interests, but also to the interests of those around them (Philippians 2:3-4). Jesus also came to share the good news of salvation & the kingdom, so we will also be offering evangelism training to those that want it.
Training in small businesses:
The girls are currently involved in two simple activities, farming & baking.
For farming, we have access to two acres of land about 6km out of Bukwo, where maize and beans are cultivated. This involves ploughing, planting, fertilising, weeding, harvesting, storage and selling. For baking, the girls buy flour, oil, eggs & sugar and make mendazis & daddies. They sell them individually and in bulk packets to schools and churches in the area.
In a quantitative way, they will be learning the relationship between cost & selling price (profit), as well as the procedures necessary to ensure that all costs, sales & overheads are accounted for. We expect that as time goes on, they will discover ways of maximising the profits. Where trustworthiness & honesty have been identified, it will also be an opportunity for girls to take on appropriate responsibilities.
But that's not all they'll be learning in these business activities - wherever money is involved, conflict is never far away. when this occurs, we'll be using the behaviours learnt in the Jesus likeness sessions to deal with these conflicts
Achievements So Far!
At the beginning of May 2022, we started our first micro-finance project in tailoring. We have paid for her 6-month tuition, plus a sewing machine and materials. The agreement we created says that the sewing machine doesn't become hers until her loan has been repaid. We desperately hope to report a successful outcome for her later in 2022. (Unfortunately, in late 2022, she decided stop her work and returned the sewing machine)
In March 2022, Kalyet Initiative Australia Inc successfully registered as a charity with the ACNC.
In January 2022, the Ugandan Government announced that schools could reopen, after having been closed for nearly 2 years because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Nearly all the girls are therefore happily back studying at school.
In July 2021, we also started a new project which was a very practical one. When Winny asked the girls what they wanted most, can you believe they said "Sanitary pads!" Can you imagine a young woman in the West having such a need! We felt that it was essential that we respond, so we distributed panties, bras & sanitary pads to the girls. We also had a local Christian teacher and a nurse speak to them about their use and other hygiene matters. The girls were so happy & we trust that these items will go some way to restoring their dignity as young women.
In July 2021, we took the opportunity of purchase another 2 acres of really beautiful flat land only 3.2 km from the town centre.
Winny has visited the homes of all the girls, to establish a relationship with the parent(s) and assess the girl's living environments.
Winny meets with the up-to-20 girls regularly, usually every Saturday and more often in school holidays.
During 2021, Winny made contact with people in the local district government, including the Resident District Commissioner (RDC), and has been received very well.
Isaac released Winny to temporarily move to Bukwo at the beginning of May 2021 with their three kids (Chela, 12: Peter, 2 & Paul, 6 months), to really establish operations.
We purchased a secure 4-room building in town to use as our central location where we can meet with the girls.
We had previously purchased 2 acres of land for farming, 6km from the Bukwo town centre.
In June 2021, in Australia, we registered Kalyet Initiative Australia Inc in NSW as an Incorporated Association. We have established an account to receive donations and then transfer them to our Ugandan bank account. We have also obtained an ABN and a Tax File Number.
In April 2021, we opened a bank account and a PO Box. Obtained a Ugandan Taxpayer Identification Number.
In March 2021, we registered Kalyet Initiative (U) Ltd as a company limited by guarantee.
To be honest, we have way more ideas than we can possibly implement. At the same time, we know that we are just starting out, and we don't want to stretch ourselves or our finances too far. Our ideas for the future include -
baking cakes for birthdays and other celebrations.
perhaps, getting the equipment necessary for the milling of maize & wheat.
raising pigs and/or goats and/or chickens.
growing tomatoes in greenhouses.
perhaps introducing hydroponic techniques.
we want to start a savings facility for the girls so that, with our help & encouragement, they can save a little for their future.
exploring ideas for micro-financed activities that the girls can engage in when they exit the program.
start a franchise of an operation in high-efficiency clay stoves and their installation.
inviting other women who have had difficult early years, to join us and be involved in the training; this will broaden their horizons.
we have plans to bus the girls to a Christian camp for a weekend. This will provide them with different challenges, an opportunity to make deepen bonds with each other and also encourage them with a new experience.
and more to come!
We want to be very diligent in this area and will be very transparent with the girls. It's our firm belief that the girls won't change unless we model the change and show them that we have already been changed.
Obviously, we have a bank account and this will be reconciled every month. We are also using Xero software to record and report on all financial transactions. At the same time, we have developed simple procedures for the girls to follow when they are handling money, raw materials and finished products.
We are required to renew our licence every 12 months and as a part of that, to report the the NGO Board on our activities. We will be working with a local accountant to provide whatever is required.
In our desire to be as transparent as possible, we are providing the following links to important documents -