To a small degree Sisters of Hope International (SOHI) is two organizations in one. One seeks to inform women in the United States on the conditions of girls and women worldwide. By doing this, we hope to raise awareness and cause women here in the US to become advocates for those who may not have a voice in their own culture or communities.
The other seeks to alleviate the conditions of poverty and injustice, which include lack of or incomplete education, lack of life skills, lack of job skills or business training, lack of income producing opportunities, and all the other “lack of’s” that keep women impoverished and without hope in Uganda.
We hope to inspire US women to develop relationships with Ugandan women through letters, emails, sponsorship, and of course, by visiting one day. SOHI comes alongside women in Uganda with prayer, encouragement, training, and resources.
We desire to work holistically to help participants develop their full capacity emotionally, financially, physically, and spiritually.
Our heart is to see the women of Uganda find a personal and saving relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, find healing for themselves and their families from abuses of the past, find sustainable and rewarding income producing opportunities, and then to see them reach out and impact their extended family and community in the same way.
We are working to create a sustainable long-term organization with successful programs which empower women without making them dependent on Sisters of Hope International (SOHI). We hope to engage in community capacity building to strengthen the skills, competencies, and abilities of Ugandan girls and women and their communities so they can overcome the causes of their exclusion and suffering.
We currently operate in three locations in Uganda, Africa; Kampala, Gulu, and Masaka.
NOTE: Our ministry is to women, defined by SOHI as any female age 13 and up.
What We Do
Basic Business Training (BBT)
Currently, we provide the women with basic business training, which does not require them to be fully literate, but does require them to develop a business plan, including a marketing plan, along with financial tools. With the ongoing help of a business mentor to apply the business principles, the women are able to start a business or increase the potential of their current business, mostly small kiosk-types (fruits or vegetables, charcoal, dried fish).
Village Bank (VB)
If they complete the business training, we then train them in Village Banking and help them with the start-up costs of launching their own Village Bank. This enables the women to save for the first time in their lives and to take out loans for business purposes only. We have found this to be more effective than providing microloans.
A village bank is a group of 20 to 35 women who come together because they want to increase their income and improve their lives. Although a village bank is a bit like a traditional Rotating Savings and Credit Association (ROSCA), it has many features that make it different from a regular savings and credit group.
Village bank members learn how to keep accurate accounts, just like a real bank. They learn how to keep their bank growing and active, how to handle money safely, and how to avoid corruption.
Different types of training is on-going at all three of our locations. We offer: sewing/tailoring instruction; baking or catering classes; sweater-making classes; jewelry-making classes; and weaving classes. We are constantly looking for ideas for training that will help our women produce sustainable income for the support of their families.
In Uganda, English is the official national language for government, business, and education. Uganda is a multilingual country with over 42 indigenous languages.
Many of these women have had their educations interrupted by war, child marriage, or poverty, among other reasons. Because schools are not free, many girls are denied an education beyond 3rd or 4th grade. The ESL classes have turned out to be one of the most appreciated services SOHI provides. We added an intermediate class at two of our sites in early 2016.