Welcome Esther Jr.!
Esther Jr. is one fired up young lady, and quite the chatterbox. She lights up the Sseko workshop with her passionately delivered opinions, but makes sure that she’s always on task and focusing on her work at the same time. Esther Jr. loves playing sports and spending time with her friends.
Esther Jr. lives with her aunt and uncle, but loves visiting her mother whenever she gets the chance. Esther Jr. is particularly proud of her country because it is known as the Pearl of Africa, with the source of the Nile and Lake Victoria in its abundance of natural beauty.
Esther Jr. wants to attend university and study Accounting and Finance. Her dream is to be a bank manager and give out loans to people.0 comments
Welcome Jackie Sr.!
Jackie Sr. has a big heart for her family and her friends. She loves to interact and take care of children, and gets lots of practice with her younger siblings. Jackie Sr. is inspired by her mother who gracefully bears every situation with humility and patience.
Jackie Sr. is a delight to have on the strap team here at Sseko, and we love seeing little glimpses of her caring nature and her humorous side.
Jackie Sr. wants to attend university and study Social Work and Social Administration. Ideally, she will be able to combine her love of people with her love of music.0 comments
Brenda is a friendly young girl, who dreams of being a gospel singer. “When I become a singer, I will wear fancy dresses, but not skimpy ones,” she says. Brenda likes to sing and read novels. Her favorite book is Romeo and Juliet. A natural romantic? We think so.
Brenda’s parents have always motivated and encouraged her. Her mother attended and completed university, which inspires Brenda to work hard in her studies. In 2009, Brenda was diagnosed with kidney failure. Brenda managed to continue her studies, all while dealing with the pain and treatments for her diagnosis.
She is excited about being a part of the Sseko program, and the friendships she has already gained. Brenda wants to attend university and study Accounting. She dreams of becoming an Accountant, and maybe a gospel singer on the side. She also dreams of having a loving and stable family.Comments Off
“It’s hard to be a mother in Uganda,” Aunt Sarah explains. “I have to worry about providing for my children for their school fees, transport and when they fall sick. I am a single mother and my ex-husband does not help me with providing for the children. It’s hard. But when I look at my children, I am so proud. My eldest daughter resembles me, which makes me very proud. It’s good when you teach your children, and they reach their goals. Also, when you get older, they can take care of you.”
Aunt Sarah sheds a contrasting light on being a parent in Uganda. While tough to navigate the waters of single parenting in a third world country, Aunt Sarah, like so many parents around the world, is extremely proud of her children and has big dreams for their future. Parenting in Uganda differs amongst families, but the overall view of family is much different than the Western mindset. In Uganda, family is a very organic thing, involving the extended family and often the entire village. Many children grow up with aunts and uncles, cousins, or even close friends. Families welcome children, whether orphaned or suffering from dire circumstances as a result of poverty, gladly into their care and raise them as their own.
In many families, the parenting falls to the eldest children, with the parents having passed away or are both working hard all day long and away from the home. And with nearly half the population of Uganda consisting of youth, the task of parenting keeps falling to the next in line. Parenting ‘how to’ books are basically non-existent, so parenting tactics are just passed down from generation to generation. In Uganda, every adult is responsible for every child. If a stranger passes by and sees your child misbehaving, they have every right to punish them. If a child receives spankings as a punishment, they know not to run home and tell their parents because more often than not, their parents will give them additional spankings.
There are many challenges parents are facing in Uganda, as well as globally. Poverty, gender inequality, illiteracy, disease, divorce and domestic violence are a few of the factors negatively influencing parenting. Parenting and provision are associated as a family matter, and children are equally affected. With the slim opportunities in the current Ugandan job market, when an individual does gain employment, they are expected to share their earnings with the entire family, so the head of the household may not be the one providing for the family. Aggie, a young professional, also explains that as a child “you definitely have to be seen and not heard.” Speaking up in an adult conversation is not accepted, and not until you reach university age are your opinions and thoughts valued as an adult.
Children in Uganda are sole property of their fathers, and take on their fathers names, religions and land, no questions asked. The mothers have little say, even though they are obviously a huge part of bringing the children into the world and raising them. For a long time in Uganda, a very high percentage of the time, boys were favored above girls. It was commonly believed that if a man did not produce a boy, then he wasn’t considered a real man. Fortunately, some of the beliefs affecting the gender inequality in Uganda are slowly changing.
Aggie continues to tell us about her childhood and how her parents raised her. “I grew up with two stepmoms at different times, but I liked both of them. I think I’m very lucky. They treated me like their own daughter. My dad wasn’t around all the time but wasn’t gone so much that I missed his presence in my life or felt neglected. He travelled a lot for work. His rule for his wives was: “If you’re tired of my kids, leave. Because my kids are my life.” I met my birth mom when I was in high school. I didn’t feel a void in my life growing up without her, or a real big desire to meet her because my family had always given me everything I needed. It was awkward at first but now it is very natural and I’m glad that she is a part of my life now.”
A universal truth, is that most parents, economic status, race, religion, and all other factors aside, love their children and want what’s best for them. And even with the many challenges parents in Uganda face, this truth is ever as true for them.Comments Off
Yeesh… I’ve been Ssekos Communications and Social Media Intern for 6 months and am just now saying hello! How rude.
My name is Rose. Nice to meet you, world.
A few years ago, a good friend of mine told me about the Sseko sandal’s she was rocking, and little did I know that after a few years, I would be searching for a job and come across Sseko again. And then move across the world a month later to become a part of the Sseko family. I was initially drawn in by Sseko’s beautiful products and marketing, and after some investigation of their vision to empower women through providing sustainable employment and education, I fell in love. And I knew I wanted to be a part of it.
Wait, let’s back up. I was born on a tiny little island in the Philippines, and while I did not grow up living in a hut, wearing grass skirts and riding an elephant to school ( although how COOL would that have been??), I did learn to kill spiders at a young age, take a Jungle Survival course, have a pet monkey, and spent countless hours of my childhood on the beach. I was born into a mess of sisters and brothers who inspired me to fearlessly take on life, and who have never allowed me to be less than I was capable of becoming.
So I received my high school diploma and hopped on an airplane to Austria to start university. I studied art and completed my Bachelor’s degree in a small town in midwest America, with my whole future ahead of me. I decided to live one of my biggest dreams, and I traveled around the world volunteering, and although it was a lot of hard work allowing myself to wade through all the challenges and difficulties that come hand in hand with the sweet soul filling moments of the adventurous life, I allowed the people, cultures, and dealings of the world to rub against the person I thought I was and challenge everything I knew and believed about myself, about my soul, and about what’s important in life.
And so I’ve found myself in this crazy city in the heart of Africa, working with Sseko, and I love it. I get to hang out with 36 incredible women who daily inspire me, make me laugh, and challenge me to be a better and stronger person. They have empowered ME by their courage, love and wisdom. I am passionate about, and thrilled to be a small part in fighting for a more just world, by taking photographs of the Sseko women and writing their stories, providing them with a global voice. My favorite moments are when I put my pen down mid interview, whilst chatting with one of the Sseko women, to just listen, and they open up their heart to me. I also love the split second of quiet when I show them their pictures and stories that I’ve posted online, and then they break out the most incredible smiles and their eyes sparkle with laughter and joy.
I am finishing up my 6 month internship, but am thrilled to be continuing to work with Sseko through the rest of the year. I may be the girl behind the camera, and the girl writing the stories that you read, but know that the Sseko women are who inspire all of us here at Sseko to encourage and provide others with a future full of hope and the ability to pursue their dreams.
Juliet, confident in her comedic skills, greeted me for the very first time with a joke about monkeys. She is one funny girl, and loves to make people laugh. “I don’t like to see people in a moody place, so I tell jokes to improve their spirits.”
And what an inspiring girl. She is the first one in her family to have finished high school. Juliet likes to play volleyball and make friends. Even though she hasn’t travelled to other countries, she’s confident that Uganda’s beauty is a unique and wonderful quality. Juliet is inspired by her mother, who as a single mother, manages to provide for all her needs.
Juliet wants to attend university and study Logistics and Procurement. She wants to work with a Ugandan company when she has finished studying.Comments Off
Lillian is a social lady, always making friends. She believes, “the friends that you have, help you.” Lillian likes to cook, and her favorite dish is chicken and rice. Lillian enjoys the camaraderie at Sseko, as well as being part of a team.
As a young girl, Lillian did not have enough money to attend school so she would sit on the side of the road and ask her friends for their school books so she could copy their notes and continue learning. The headmistress at her local school heard of her dedication to learning, and allowed her to continue her studies at school for free.
Lillian wants to attend university and study Procurement. Her dream is to build a home for street children.Comments Off
This Mother’s Day we are honored to celebrate our Sseko moms. They are an inspiration to their children and serve as mentors to our younger women on the Sseko team. Where would we be without our Sseko moms? They inspire us daily with their words and confidence and are incredible mothers and women. This Mother’s Day give your mom a gift that is giving back to moms in Uganda.
Florence is one of our incredible seamstresses, who sews the beautiful straps which adorn your Ssekos. She is mother to 7 children and serves as one of the “aunties” at Sseko. She has a motherly love that fills a room, a laughter that makes you smile just hearing it and wise words to share when times get difficult. With all of the young women working around Sseko, it’s nice to have the comfort of an auntie around for everyone to look up to.
Robinah has been working with Sseko for 3 years and was the first Sseko bride in 2010. In 2011, she become a mother to a beautiful baby girl. She continuously lifts us up with her warm spirit and smile. Robinah is expecting another baby this April and is excited to grow her family and be able to support them as an independent, working women. She says, “Mothers have to be responsible about their kids. They have to take care of them, seeing that their babies are healthy and well fed.”
We love our Sseko Moms!
Dorine loves writing. Dorine loves to eat fish. And Dorine loves how beautiful her country is. The firstborn of a small family, Dorine is a quiet, contemplative girl. Dorine’s inspirational role model is her stepmother. “She is very nice and is the one who has inspired me the most. When I was still young, I thought all stepmothers were bad, but she has proved me wrong,” Dorine says.
Dorine loves to dance, and she chuckles about a time in her childhood when she spied on a group of boys dancing. After being caught and reprimanded by the headmistress, she was made to clean bathrooms for the rest of the day. “It was worth it,” she says smiling.
Dorine wants to attend university and study Human Resource Management. She wants to be an HR Mangaer and form an organization that provides support to Ugandan youth.Comments Off