A Visit to Lanam Stella’s Home

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As survivors of Joseph Kony’s terror reign (Lord’s Resistance Army), the young ladies of Amani Uganda are recovering from unspeakable horror. The past holds memories of abduction and rape. Many became child soldiers and were forced to kill. Some became mothers when they were still children themselves.

But Amani Uganda is a place of peace, reconciliation, and self-worth. In addition to learning sewing skills, they are forgiving their enemies and nurturing one another’s hearts.

The ladies often organize visits to one another's homes. Recently, the group visited Lanam Stella's home. Home visits include lunch, prayer, devotion, and worship songs.
The ladies often organize visits to one another’s homes. Recently, the group visited Lanam Stella’s home. Home visits include lunch, prayer, devotion, and worship songs.

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Stella, left, receiving a housewarming gift of fruit from Mary.

Simprosa, Amani Uganda
Amani Uganda Country Director, Simprosa, usually leads the daily devotion at the end of the workday.

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Grace and Joyce at a home visit.

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Children are welcome at Amani Uganda. These little ones are a constant source of joy. The women care for, play with, and even reprimand one another’s children!

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The group participates in various holistic wellness activities This includes stretching!

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Amani Uganda is up and running, but still needs capital to grow during this phase. Donations pay for everything from sewing machines to group therapy. To give a financial gift to the ladies of Amani Uganda, click here.

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Sustain the ladies financially by purchasing some of their beautiful handmade products Pleated Coin Purse ($10).

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Kitenge Napkin Set ($24 for 6), handmade at Amani Uganda.

Meet our Intern: Alison

This was originally posted on the (new!) Amahoro Burundi (Amahoro ava Mw’Ijuru) blog!

 Amani ya Juu often hosts interns at centers in both Africa and the US. Check out our Summer/Fall 2014 intern, who is currently living and working in Burundi at Amahoro ava Mw’Ijuru!

 

Alison, Amahoro Intern 2014

Alison, Amahoro Intern 2014

Name: Alison Chang

Hometown: Thousand Oaks, CA / Pohang, South Korea

School & Degree: Wheaton College; International Relations

 

 

Role at Amani: Management and Administration Intern. I started in Nairobi, Kenya and am now in Bujumbura, Burundi. Here, I am mainly working with Amani’s Burundi Country Director to build capacity through computerizing departments, and standardizing processes and systems. However, I am stretched far wider in opportunities to learn more about anything and everything including sharing the Amani story through social media, managing any of the other Amani departments (distribution, production, tie and dye, café, shop, etc.), starting Amani Watoto and “Worship through Dance” programs, going on home visits, and whatever else I can get me hands on!

 

How did you first learn about Amani?
I first learned about Amani after I was accepted into Wheaton’s Human Needs and Global Resources (HNGR) Program through the HNGR staff, friends, and mentors.

 

What made you want to intern with Amani?

My interest in learning more about refugee employment opportunities, women’s rights, and post-conflict development brought me to Amani. More broadly, I desire to see how the discourse of international relations and policies made from the top level really affect those on the bottom. Amani gave me the opportunity to see how women, my friends, are impacted by organizations like Amani Ya Juu and imagine how changes in policy can better empower those that can be most marginalized.

 

Random Facts:
My family currently lives in Korea, I am the middle child of three, I am the Events Coordinator for Wheaton’s World Christian Fellowship, I’ve always like elephants, and I was the News Editor of my high school newspaper.

 

 

Intern Alison with Amahoro Burundi

Intern Alison with the Amahoro Burundi group

Words of Encouragement: Burundi to Liberia

Last week, our Amahoro Burundi sisters shared words and prayers of encouragement to the  Amani Liberia family. They want to share with the Amani extended family as well.

 

Just a few faces of Amahoro Burundi!

Just a few faces of Amahoro Burundi!

Dear Amani Liberia,

Please know that people all over the world are praying with you. This week, Amahoro Burundi is filled with prayers for the situation in West Africa and specifically for the Amani community in Liberia. Here are some encouragements for the women (and men) of Amani Liberia from the women (and men) of Amahoro Burundi. First is the encouragement in Kirundi followed by a translation to English and their name.

1.
Indirimbo 91: Gitandara c’Imana reka nguhungireko
Kirundi song number 91: Rock of ages
-Lydia

2.
Songs 159; Nezerewe ko Yesu ankunda naho ntabikwiye
Kirundi Hymn 159 I am happy because Jesus loves me even if I am unworthy.
-Nyota

3.
Mwihangane ikora ibibtangaza bagatangara yoyo ntitangara yitwa
gitangaza kandi n’inyuma ya zero irakora.
Be persevering people. God of miracles is your God. His Name is
miracle. He works with minus (beyond human senses).
-Dorcella

4.
Kirundi Hymn book number 49 Ugusenga kuramfasha; 33 Ntundengane mukiza
we. Do not pass me by.
-Joyeuse

5.
Yobu 42: 1-3: Yobu yahuye n’ivyago vyinshi abiwe bamuherako. Namwe
mwihangane Imana izobatabara.
Job went through many plagues. He lost all his family and belongings.
Do not loose heart God is with you.
-Joselyne

6.
Yosuwa 1:1
Read Joshua 1:1

Be strong and very courageous.

-Cesarie & Renilde

7.
Bene Data mwihangane Imana niyo Nkuru. Bene Data Humura Imana niyo
mutabazi. Yesu niwe mukiza. Soma Mariko 3:7-12; Luka 6:17-19
Brethren, do not loose heart God is with you. He will rescue you. He is
the savior. Read Mark 3:7-12; Luc 6:17-19

-Abraham

8.
Mwihangane cane mugwize gusenga twatura icaha n’igisa naco. Mwihangane
nka Yobu. Yesu abagirire neza.
Keep your eyes upon God. Avoid sin and every thing similar like Job.
May Jesus helps you.
-Carine

9.
Yosuwa 1:5b, Nkuko nabanya na Mose niko nzobana namwe. Sinzobahemukira
sinzobata. Shikama musire amanga Uhoraho ari kumwe namwe. Ndabasengera
mbabaranye namwe, ndirana namwe kandi ndabakunda. Soma  kandi Zaburi
91:1-3.
Joshua 1:5b. As I was with Moses, I will be with you. I will not leave
you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous God is with you. I pray
and feel the way you feel. I weep with you; I love you. Read again Ps
91:1-3
-Goreth

10.
Imana niyo muganga akiza icago. God is the doctor of doctors. He is in
control. Your help comes from the Lord. Ps. 121:1-8
-Evariste

May God bless you and keep you in His peace,

Amahoro Burundi

(Amahoro ava Mw’Ijuru)

*These encouragements were collected by Alison Chang (Amahoro Burundi Intern)

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Goreth (Burundi Country Director) and Evariste, her husband

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Stitching at Amahoro

Ebola Outbreak: A Message from our Founder

A message from our Executive Director and Founder, Becky Chinchen, regarding the Ebola outbreak:

Thank you to all Amani friends and supporters who have been praying for our members at the Amani Liberia center. We continue to thank the Lord that they have all been protected from the Ebola virus and live in an Ebola free town.

Please continue to pray for the Amani Liberia members as they take precautions, that they will be wise and disciplined in health and safety practices. Also pray that they will have a deep sense of God’s presence and love for them, that they will see His faithfulness and goodness even in a time of crisis. Pray for the country as a whole as they go through a grieving process. There is probably not one who has not been impacted by the loss of family member or friend.

There are food shortages now in the country because of enforced quarantine of communities by the government in order to bring the spread of the virus under control. This has brought travel and trade within the country to a halt. People are beginning to run out of food. Pray that food aid will reach these remote communities soon.

Thank you for standing in the gap with us as we lift up in prayer the people of Liberia.

Becky Chinchen
Executive Director

Happy Birthday to Us!

A letter from our Founder and Executive Director to you…

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Jambo from Amani Kenya!

Becky Chinchen, Amani ya Juu Founder/Executive Director

Becky Chinchen, Founder/Executive Director

 

I’d like to personally thank you for the gift of your friendship to Amani ya Juu! Your support—whether through financial gifts, product purchases, or visits to a center—has encouraged us and enabled us to come this far. That makes us want to celebrate!

This summer marks the 18th year since Amani ya Juu began in my living room with 3 refugee women.  After fleeing from Liberia, I landed in Nairobi, Kenya among refugees like myself. I saw a need to affirm the dignity of those around me through empowering work and a safe community. We started with a small personal loan, a pattern for placemats, and four hurting hearts seeking healing and peace.

Today, thousands of people (women, their children and spouses, and visitors) have been impacted by God’s peace through Amani centers in 6 different countries.

Over the years, wear and tear that occurs naturally when many people move through a space has begun to take its toll on the Amani Kenya center.Renovations are desperately needed in order to maintain the beautiful facility that contributes to women finding dignity and peace on a daily basis.

Celebrate with us by giving a gift to Amani on her 18th birthday. Pick a project and be a part of sowing peace.

In Peace from Above—Amani ya Juu,

Becky Chinchen
Founder/Executive Director
Amani ya Juu

 

 

 

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Some stories have come full circle when women are able to “graduate” from Amani and start their own small businesses, spreading peace in various communities. Rahab is one example. To read her story, click here.

 

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Renovations are needed in order to maintain the beautiful facility that contributes to women finding dignity and peace on a daily basis.

 

Click here to make your gift!

 

5 Year Later, Where is Uganda Now?

This article was written by Clarissa Donaldson, an Amani ya Juu intern serving at Amani Uganda.

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A woman working with her child at Amani Uganda.

A peace statue stands tall in the center of the plaza, commemorating the triumphant day that peace was restored in Gulu, Uganda. No longer are bullets raining in a storm of hate, yells of soldiers and the cries of children sprinkled with the cold clatter of machine guns firing deep into the night. No longer do refugees run from the place they once called home, tearful with uncertainty of whether they would ever be able to return. No longer do children find themselves invisible with injustice forced into their small hands and young wombs.

The world watched and cried with Uganda during its time of war. And twenty years later, the world celebrated with Uganda as its peace statue was joyously built in July 2009. With this declaration of peace, the world showered Uganda with gifts and organizations of sympathy and helped Uganda rebuild. They showed love to the invisible children as they grew and held their hands as they wrestled with their painful past and tried to transition into a new season of life.

And then after a while, the eyes of the world got tired and moved to other hardships in the world. The nonprofits that had shown so much kindness to Uganda became invisible to the world’s eyes. The once-generous support dwindled, interest waned, and many nonprofits closed. While these nonprofits had envisioned their job skills training to enable sustainable long-term employment, countless Ugandans found themselves unable to save in the thick of severe inflations and unable to access enough capital to start up a business of their own. And now the once-joyous peace statue stands over a land of adults still struggling to reconcile their pasts, forgive their abductors, and provide for themselves and their families. Many are still desperately waiting for true peace in their lives.

One Ugandan refugee, Simprosa, fled Gulu when the violence erupted and took refuge in Nairobi, Kenya. There she found Amani ya Juu and experienced God’s peace in her life. She was taught how to sew, design, and run a business, and was discipled in her faith by the ladies at Amani Kenya. With the declaration of peace in Gulu, Uganda, Simprosa returned home to Gulu. Soon she realized that many who had found refuge and received job skills training from various nonprofits during the war were now jobless and struggling. They desired to work and use their skills, yet found themselves unable to find employment or access the means to start a business of their own. Her heart broke for them. Led by God in prayer, she sought to show to them the same peace that she had been shown through starting an Amani ya Juu in Uganda. Starting with just one woman and one machine, she watched as God grew Amani Uganda to what it is today and opened the door for many Uganda women to find true peace and reconciliation through the gospel. Her prayer is to help as many women as possible, enabling them to experience long-term healing and earn fair wages to provide for their families in a place saturated in God’s mercy and peace.

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Simprosa, Country Director of Amani Uganda

 

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Amani Uganda is located in Gulu, Uganda. Simprosa, the Country Director, uses a motorcycle to pick up fabric and other sewing materials!

God’s peace isn’t always seen through times of prosperity and peace. Trials and warfare allow God to show us just how precious and powerful His peace is, a peace that transcends cultural and ethnic differences and reveals to us our true value as beloved children of God. In the face of conflict and poverty, Amani ya Juu offers a place of peace for marginalized women in Africa, helping women to regain stability and share the gift of peace in their homes, communities, and nations through sewing and reconciliation. Amani offers a wide selection of Fair Trade, high-quality products: handbags, home and kitchen décor, jewelry, and children’s items, all made out of local African materials. Amani Uganda is one of Amani’s seven centers internationally. We invite you to visit us on our website, amaniafrica.org, come visit one of our centers, or pray with us for the continued ministry through Amani ya Juu.

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Amani Uganda seamstresses are invited to bring their little ones to work, making the lives of single mothers much easier.

 

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This article was written by Clarissa, an Amani Uganda intern

Meet Christine from Congo

A Q&A with Christine, a refugee from Congo who works at Amani Kenya.

 

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Christine (left), Amani Kenya

1) Tell us about your role in Amani.

I stitch signature hot pads & oven gloves, safari satchel and coin purse, e.t.c.

Tamaduni Coin Purse, made by Christine at Amani Kenya

Tamaduni Coin Purse, made by Christine at Amani Kenya

2) What have you learned while working with your team? 

I have learnt to stay with different people. When I am going through some difficulties, I like to share the situation with them.

 

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The sewing room at Amani Kenya.

3) What is the most unforgettable memory that you have from working with Amani so far?

When my father was sick, I was given some financial help to cater for my travel needs to Congo. I was unable to do it by myself.

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Just part of the Amani Kenya family.

4) In what way do you think the program has benefited you and other ladies at Amani Kenya?

The program has helped me financially to cater for my family and also spiritual growth.

 

My experience with gender inequality in Ethiopia

usaamani:

Interesting blog on women in Ethiopia, written by a female Peace Corps volunteer. Gender equality has come a long way in many parts of the world, but we’ve got a long way to go in countries like Ethiopia…

Originally posted on Ethiopian Escapades:

After 26 months in Ethiopia, there are a handful of things I can expect each and every day.

1. I will engage in a minimum of 5 conversations where I only understand about 70% of what was discussed (and both parties will usually nervously chuckle and nod at the end of the conversation to disguise our mutual cluelessness).
2. I’ll drink at least 16 ounces of coffee.
3. I will gain a new appreciation for the enduring strength of Ethiopian women.

A few months ago, a fellow PCV recently wrote a blog about the difficulties of being a female volunteer in Ethiopia. Her words say it best. http://800daysinethiopia.blogspot.com/2014/03/on-being-hated.html

Being a female PCV is tough, but “tough” doesn’t even being to describe what it’s like to be a female Ethiopian. Here are some of my observations of the challenges of Ethiopian women and girls in my community. These are my personal…

View original 1,368 more words

Peanut Brittle Recipe

Esther at Amani Liberia uses her Amani money to buy materials for peanut brittle, then sells them in her community all week in a plastic bucket! Check out our favorite Peanut Brittle recipe here!

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Confession: we found this image on opensourcefood.com. Every time we make our own peanut brittle, it goes too quickly for photographs, so we had to borrow her photo of a very similar recipe.

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Esther on her back porch making “ground pea” (peanut) candy! She does this every Sunday after church.

Our favorite Peanut Brittle Recipe:

vegetable oil spray
2 cups sugar
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tbsp salt
12 ounces dry roasted, salted peanuts (do not chop)

* we obviously recommend fair trade for all ingredients when possible! Try your local health food store or Whole Foods!

Directions:

1) Spray a baking sheet lightly with vegetable oil. Add the sugar, butter, corn syrup and 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp water to a large saucepan, and stir together until all of the sugar is wet.

2) Cook over high heat until the mixture turns a medium golden.

3) Immediately remove from the heat, and carefully whisk in the baking soda followed by the salt (taking care, as the caramel will rise in the pan and bubble).

4) Switch to a wooden or metal spoon, and fold in the peanuts. Quickly pour the mixture onto the sheet pan, and spread it out over the pan using the back of the spoon before it starts to harden (it may not cover the whole pan).

5) Once the brittle is completely cool, break it into bite sized pieces with a blunt object.

We found this recipe at openfoodsource.com. It has been thoroughly tested and approved by Amani staff!

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Esther working at Amani Liberia.

Whether you have some treats to bake or you know someone who does this hot pad set will make the baking process a lot more festive.

Whether you have some treats to bake or you know someone who does this hot pad set will make the baking process a lot more festive.

Shop Amani. Spread Peace.

Check out amaniafrica.org for all your baking accessories!