After living in Uganda for 15 months and experiencing the culture, Bonnie Bzdok noticed two things: a lack of jobs and very limited access to clean water. She started Resilient Uganda in 2014 with a goal to empower Ugandans, especially women, by creating crafting co-ops. Her other objective was to help the people build tanks to harvest rain water. After fundraising back in the States, she returned to Uganda earlier this year. With the help of family, friends and support from the One-World Mission Grant Fund, she succeeded in both endeavors.
The purchase of five sewing machines is allowing women to support themselves and their families by making and selling crafts. The village of Kisoro is home to the Mountain Gorillas which attract a significant tourist trade. When Bonnie first visited, crafts were being imported from other locales. Now gifts and items are being made by women in the village, who are earning an income and developing a sense of self-worth.
The OWM grant also supported the construction of one 10,000 liter water tank in the village of Bushoka along with three additional smaller plastic tanks which were purchased for individuals. The local people sometimes walk for hours to fetch water; now water is minutes from their homes, and a grandmother no longer has to carry water up the mountain to her home.
Bonnie made a special effort to involve the local people in the building and the decision-making surrounding the water tanks. The Bushoka Catholic Church, community leaders and Resilient Uganda signed an agreement stating that the water tank is open to the entire community to use, free of charge, during hours specified by the church catechist, and that any necessary repairs are the responsibility of the church and community leaders.