Dear friends and family,
Our minds change a lot, our plans change even more and if I had a quarter for every time we came up with an idea and didn't follow through we would be rich. We are young and ever growing. But something that has stuck with us has always been the NEED we have seen through-out the world, particularly in Uganda. I recently read an analysis report that discussed how in Uganda the problem isn't that people are un-trained or un-willing to work it's that there are no good jobs. So this endless circle of poverty doesn't stop. We have met numerous Ugandans who have several children and no way to care for them or even themselves. We have been awakened by knocking on our door by people asking for ANY work at all. I have had Godly women lie to me just to be able to send their children to school (which costs about $300.00 a YEAR <--- less than the average amount of money spent on some american's MONTHLY grocery bill). It's not fair. It's not fair that my husband and I can spend $25.00 on ordering pizza for dinner ONE night and that is the AVERAGE MONTHLY INCOME of a Ugandan. It's not fair that contestants on the Reality TV show Survivor get ONE MILLION DOLLARS for "surviving" a month in circumstances my friends halfway across the world live in everyday of their lives. That's the REAL reality and IT'S NOT FAIR.
But it goes on.
While I sit here and type - It's all still happening.
It doesn't stop while we are sleeping or driving to work.
It doesn't stop for us when we ignore it.
So we're choosing to face it head on.
we have made an important and concrete decision to start an LLC (Limited Liability Corporation) called Tukula
(which means "we grow" in lugandan), and here's the vision:
We will be visiting trade schools and inquiring about those studying to be tailors. After we choose students who we deem to live in the most vulnerable conditions we will be hiring them to start work on a clothing line made out of Ugandan fabrics and materials (think shorts, dresses, skirts in some of the funnest bright prints)!
We will then be selling the clothing line in America at affordable costs.
We believe that Economic Empowerment for young adults is an important way to stop the cycle of poverty before they have children who end up in the cycle with them. We believe that the next generation of Ugandans with the right education and resources can become role models and make a lasting difference in their communities. We want to not only meet their immediate needs but also allow them to follow their dreams.
Tukula's hopes are to require each tailor to open a bank account and help every tailor understand the importance of saving for their future or for a specific goal. They will be given a monthly salary, a percentage of which will go straight into their bank account in order to encourage them to save each month.
We will help set financial goals for each tailor (making the goal appropriate for their living situation and future career goals). Once those goals are met they will be set off "on their own" and no longer be in the Tukula program, which then leaves a new opening at Tukula and we will start the process all over with a new member. We will follow up with all former Tukula tailors to ensure the effectiveness of the program in the long run.
We would also like to hire a graduate of business studies from Uganda to help run operations and to help with cultural barriers (language, customs, fair prices, etc.). This will help there to be a smooth work environment and minimal frustrations throughout Tukula.
Other ways we hope to help the tailors is to purchase a kilo of rice and beans each week, and each month send them home with a chicken.
We will be taking care of all the medical needs of our tailors(if any). We have seen the horrors of Ugandan hospitals and find it of great importance to make sure the people we serve get propper medical treatment no matter what the cost.
At Tukula we even have hopes to go beyond the business and see that we make an impact not only on the Tailors' lives but also in the lives of people in the communities surrounding us. We would like to be able to help street children and children living in poor areas of Uganda by making connections with children's homes, street missions, and village outreaches and donating clothes made by our tailors. Every month, we hope to work with a different group to make this project possible.
Of course, all of this is going to require start up costs.
I have currently set up a budget that I believe to be the monthly costs for the first year.
Everything will start at around $3,200 a month. This includes: salaries, product materials, clothing children project, sewing machines (maintanence), nutrtion program, medical needs, compound (workshop) rent.
For this vision to become reality, Tukula needs people to invest their money, resources, and talents:
If you choose to be a member of Tukula financially you will be the first to receive all Tukula products for free. You will receive monthly financial updates and also video updates from the tailors. We are also interested in one time donations and you will receive financial updates and video updates as well. Our goal is to have products available by the end of 2010 so we can eventually sustain ourselves.
Your donation will not be a forever committment but you will get to choose to donate monthly for a year and after a year you can evaluate our financial situation and see if it is still needed. For example: once products are sold and bought the amount of monthly donations needed will decrease.
If you aren't financially able to donate monthly there are other options:
1.) PRAY PRAY PRAY
2.) SPREAD THE WORD about tukula.
3.) USE YOUR SKILLS - we are interested in meeting with people who have backgrounds in grant writing, fashion design, Business, retail, public relations, etc.
4.) If you are a musician, photographer, or videographer, and want to help - we want to talk with YOU.
Please let us know of any ideas you have for Tukula or just anything at all. We're open to a lot of things.
If this is something you are interested in please contact me at email@example.com with "TUKULA" in the subject line.
We are so glad that our lives are finally going into a direction that is what we've always hoped they would go in. God has been gracious towards us and has allowed us to live out our dreams. We can't believe that God would entrust so much into our hands. We are thankful for you and your encouragement and support.
May you be so incredibly blessed for all you do.
With much love, grace and peace,
Joe and Melissa Terranova