How Kanta has changed her life

Kanta Ajio

Kanta is a single mother who lives in Northern Uganda. Thanks to our Inclusive Livelihoods project in Uganda, Kanta now runs a successful tailoring business.

I am now an economically independent and self-reliant woman who can proudly take care of myself and my children’s basic needs, courtesy of the project.

Kanta from our Uganda project sewing

Kanta is a single mother of four children who live at home. She lives in Northern Uganda and is the primary decision-maker in her family. During the 1982-85 war, her arm and chest were damaged, leaving her unable to do any heavy work. 

Before she found out about our women’s inclusive livelihoods project, life for Kanta was very hard. She felt her disability meant that she could not work and couldn’t see a way out of her situation. Being a single parent made this particularly hard. It was difficult enough to support her basic needs, let alone find the school fees for her four children. She felt that her community did not respect or value her.  

How joining the project changed Kanta's life

But things have changed a lot since she joined the project. She has received training in tailoring and has also been given a sewing machine and other tailoring materials. She’s now making well-designed table mats and selling them to the community. She now earns a steady living monthly. The income and greater respect she receives from the community now that she is working have significantly increased her confidence. She is very proud of what she has achieved.

She can now provide for her family’s basic needs and send her children to school. When she is out in the community, everyone greets her with respect. The community itself is also benefiting. The mats she makes mean the community can buy them from her at home for a reasonable price, rather than buying them at a more expensive rate from the market.

Improving the community

It’s also made a real difference to how people in the community see disability. Seeing Kanta being so creative has helped them realise what others can achieve. Other community members affected by disability have approached Kanta to ask her about the project and find out how they or their family members can benefit.  And the community as a whole has realised that disabled people are capable of doing things just like everyone else and can be of great value to the community.

Future plans for her business

As well as supporting her family financially, she is using her income to develop her business and buy raw materials such as cloth, oil and threads. She is planning to purchase different colour materials to meet all her customers’ needs. She’s hoping to buy different types of sewing machines to provide other tailoring services to her customers. She would also like to start training other community members who often ask her to teach them how to do tailoring.

She is very grateful to this project for helping disabled women and empowering them with skills. If it was not for the project, she can’t picture where she would have been financially and socially by now. Through the project, she has overcome discrimination, unemployment and lack of income.

She has revamped her life and now feels she is someone of value for her family and her community. She says: “I am now an empowered woman with lifetime sustaining and employable skills. I am an economically independent and self-reliant woman who can proudly take care of myself and my children’s basic needs, courtesy of the project. I have no better words to express my gratitude to the support, but, can only say, it has turned everything in my life positively.”

Our Inclusive Livelihoods Project

Kanta was supported by the Inclusive Livelihoods Project, implemented by Cheshire Services Uganda in partnership with Leonard Cheshire. Together they have been implementing a three-year livelihoods project targeting women with disabilities in the district of Adjumani, Northern Uganda. Since February 2018, the women have been supported in agribusiness, tailoring, garment cutting, hairdressing, knitting, weaving, arts and crafts and baking.