About the Program

Mend improves the quality of life for women in Gulu, Uganda, who were directly affected by the LRA conflict. This social enterprise produces high-quality handbags while providing advanced training in tailoring, finance, and personal development to the women it supports. Visit Mend.co to meet the seamstresses.

  • Learn more about who made your bag at Mend.co
    Mend women with prosperity totes
    Background

    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 lack 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.

    Mend-NancyHow it works

    Mend aims to have both sustainable and long-term financial impact on those it supports. When a seamstress joins Mend she receives advanced training from a master tailor in Gulu. She is trained to produce high quality bags using a variety of materials, which are sold internationally. The proceeds of these sales benefit Invisible Children and provide Mend seamstresses with a steady source of income. By providing these seamstresses with a more marketable and economically beneficial outlet for their skills, Mend has vastly improved the livelihoods of some of the most vulnerable women in northern Uganda. With each new design, the seamstresses improve in skill, versatility, and confidence.

    Through education and counseling, Mend also emphasizes building a positive life for the seamstresses outside of work and employs a full-time Ugandan social worker. Experienced in post-conflict trauma, Mend’s social worker works to provide psychosocial support and counseling to the seamstresses and their families. She facilitates training sessions with Pocket of Mend denim totepartner organizations to give the seamstresses an understanding of topics such as safe health practices, child health, family planning, gender-based violence and coping with psychosocial trauma. In addition to these trainings, the women participate in weekly Functional Adult Literacy (FAL) meetings that focus on reading, writing and numeracy in their local language, Luo. They take part in monthly Village Savings and Loan (VSLA) meetings, which allow them to save and lend money together. All of the seamstresses have received or are participating in training to assist them in developing sustainable income generating activities (IGAs) outside of their work at Mend and to develop life-skills that will make them self-reliant in the future.

    Through their involvement in Mend, some of the seamstresses have been able to invest in their education and the education of their children, purchase livestock, build homes, and start their own income generating activities.

Program's Geographic Reach
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Invisible Children focuses exclusively on the LRA conflict through an integrated four-part model that addresses the problem in its entirety: immediate needs and long-term effects. Invisible Children could not exist without the consistent generosity of people who share our belief that where you live shouldn’t determine whether you live.

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