Namatala is the biggest and poorest of the districts in Mbale, Uganda, and it is estimated that 20,000 people crowd this slum. In this densely populated community, residents struggle to meet even their most basic needs. Families go without food, water and adequate housing. Gender inequities, limited access to healthcare and education as well as tribal violence further complicate life in Namatala.
Families in Namatala often consist of more than seven members who share a single mud hut that spans only about seven feet in diameter and has no electricity, running water or toilet. Many of these families live off 1,000 Ugandan Shillings a day (about $.40 USD). This money is not enough to provide food for the entire family let alone schooling for the children. Approximately 41 percent of people have access to only one meal per day, and children often must forego an education to search and beg for food.
The six women we are working with in Namatala have learned the skill of paper bead making in the hopes of earning capital to start their own small businesses. They have dreams of moving out of the slum and building their own homes, sending their children to school and growing their own food on land they purchased themselves.
The women of Namatala are the inspiration for 1000 Shillings and it is our goal to provide them with access to an international marketplace, and a platform to tell their stories.