Active 2007- 2014
Mend dramatically improved the quality of life for women in Gulu, Uganda, who had been directly affected by the LRA conflict. This social enterprise produced stylish, high-quality bags while providing advanced training in tailoring, finance, and personal development to the women it supported. Our Mend seamstresses are now not only economically stable, but have been able to invest in a sustainable future, start their own businesses and growing as leaders within their families and communities.
The seamstresses supported by Mend were all directly affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) conflict. Many were forced to become child soldiers or wives to LRA rebel commanders. These women were lucky enough to escape, often with children of their own, but after returning home, were ostracized due to their former affiliation with the rebels. Taken captive at a tender age, many lacked a basic education and upon their escape from the LRA, were taken to rehabilitation centers where they received three months of counseling and basic training in tailoring. With a skill for which an already flooded market exists, many were left without the means to support themselves and their children. In order to respond to this need and take advantage of the skills that these women already had, we developed the Mend program.
Long term financial independence
The long-term impact of Mend is sustainable financial independence for those it supported. Throughout their involvement in the program, Mend seamstresses received advanced training from a master tailor in Gulu. They were trained to produce high quality bags using a variety of materials, which are currently sold internationally. The proceeds of these sales benefit Invisible Children and for the duration of the program provided Mend seamstresses with a steady source of income. By providing these seamstresses with a more marketable and economically beneficial outlet for their skills, Mend vastly improved the livelihoods of some of the most vulnerable women in northern Uganda. Over time, the seamstresses significantly improved in skill, versatility, and confidence.