Our carpentry project volunteer Jonny tells us all about the updates and what has been happening at the Carpentry Project over the last few weeks, in our latest blog post:
So… long time no blog, lots to update you all on. If you have been reading my previous posts you will be aware we recently made and sold chopping boards. Once we put them up online they were gone within 24 hours!
Payday! Today I had the joy of handing over all the money you paid for their products, you will be happy to hear the entire amount went into their pockets. The Ugandan Director of Kids Club Kampala Samuel Wambayo came and delivered a small lesson on business as they build a customer base and develop themselves, he also encouraged them to use their chopping board money as start up capital, not just for a new pair of shoes. Ultimately it is up to them and they can do what they like. I hope they make good decisions.
To mention here also, we have had plenty of requests for more chopping boards and for larger ones, the guys will absolutely be making more but Im sure you can understand I had to reign them in a bit so we can concentrate on developing more usable skills.
SO WHAT HAVE WE BEEN MAKING?
We met some dutch girls who are doing some volunteering at a home which looks after children with severe disabilities. They commissioned the men to make large cut out plywood animals, a cloud with lights shining through it, building blocks, small beads and frames. Its great to have established this connection and we hope the men can continue the relationship with the home if they never need anything again.
When I first met the men and asked them what they wanted to make they had some unusual requests, quite a popular one was to make a coffin, this sounds a bit morbid but the request has caveats. The slum is located next door to a hospital, when people get bad news the body is handed over pretty much straight away so carpenters have set up all around the area with large displays of coffins. So I decided to grant their request and we hired in a local coffin maker to take us through the basics.
We also had a KCK volunteer from Namavundu center who wanted to start a small beekeeping project in his local area. He pledged to train the locals how to keep bees and collect honey if we built a hive. We found an extremely simple plan which another African charity had posted online, we adapted it slightly and made our hive over one lesson.
LOANS FOR SUSTAINABILITY
As cash in the slum is tight we decided to loan out money for materials. We originally planned to hand out small amounts of money for them to buy timber. However after thinking It through it made much more sense to provide small loans, they now have more responsibility and commitment. The project also becomes more self sustainable as the majority of the money we set aside for the project is reimbursed.
So the pace is picking up and the guys who have turned up most regularly have definitely benefited the most. Some of the guys are seeing what others are making and becoming inspired, if not a little jealous. Its great to see how the dynamics are forming between them all, my hope is that they stay connected as a group and work with each other as they learn at their individual paces. All the responsibility will be in their hands as I wrap up and get ready to leave in a few weeks. They have learnt some basic skills, but they still have a long way to go.
Kids Club Kampala would like to say a big thank you to Jonny for all of his hard work with the Carpentry Project over the last few months. If you would like any more information, or would like to get involved with volunteering or supporting this project, please get in touch – we would love to hear from you.