Edith Zawedde is an inspiring Mother with the heart of an entrepreneur. She is a business woman, a farmer, a homemaker, and an unwavering provider who puts her children’s needs ahead of everything else. She holds on loosely to the hope of any opportunity to realise her own potential, instead prioritising her children’s future success.
Given her desperate circumstance, her accomplishments are laudable. Through exhausting manual labour on various local farms Edith is covering the cost of school fees and requirements for her two oldest children; this alone is truly remarkable! She is driven to provide them every opportunity she can, with fourteen year old Cyrus in his second year of senior school and ten year old Sherry in her final year of primary school. Both are extremely studious and deeply grateful to their Mother for the sacrifices she makes daily.
In the precious few hours when Edith is not working for others, she sets to work on her own small farming plot, providing a significant portion of the family’s diet and very occasionally a small amount of extra income from the sale of sugar cane, cassava, and beans. As if there were even any time left in her day – in what some may consider cruelly ironic – she also finds moments to make clay bricks, which she fires and sells locally, while her own home stands woefully inadequate and beyond useful repair. She does all of this, from dawn until dusk, with her youngest son (three year old Joshua) in tow, for whom she is of course already considering how his education will be funded.
Soon after falling pregnant with Joshua, Edith’s husband of twelve years vanished from the family home. The most upsetting aspect of this for Edith is that even now, almost four years later, she hasn’t been able to establish the truth of any reason why or even where he went.
Heartbreak & Hope
In the period that immediately followed the disappearance of her husband, with no information forthcoming from his friends or family, Edith came to terms with the likelihood that he had simply abandoned the family when faced with the hardship of another child. It is tragic and utterly heartbreaking, but sadly not uncommon.
Four years later, aged 37, Edith is a testament to courage, dedication, and selflessness; but her situation is increasingly desperate in spite of her tireless efforts.
The family’s tiny house is dilapidated, though not through lack of effort to upkeep it, rather a lack of resources and support. The tiny terracotta red mud hut isn’t much larger than ten feet square. It is unsafe; to some degree structurally, but also in terms of security. With no lockable doors or windows to speak of it is almost impossible to secure the building, leaving the family particularly vulnerable at night. Edith, Cyrus, and Sherry regularly maintain the walls of the house, as the mix of earth and rough cut dry grass is at least in plentiful supply, but the thatched roof is failing and does little to keep out Uganda’s frequent torrential downpours. Inside, the single room is dark to the point of eye-straining, even during the day, and the bare earth floor shifts between states of dry red dust and dark claggy mud depending on the weather; quite how Edith sends her children to school in such pristine uniforms every day is unfathomable.
Home . . . Life
In addition to the dire practical issues with the house, it is simply too small! Edith and her children live their entire lives out of a pitch-dark ten foot square room, sleeping alongside one another on woven grass mats on the ground, straining to do homework in the evenings by the light of a kerosene lamp, sheltering (to the degree that it is possible) beneath a decrepit thatched roof, storing everything they own around the edges of the room, constantly moving and re-arranging to make the little space they have as useful as possible.
Edith is the embodiment of our ethos, her value and self-worth do not depend upon her circumstance and even in the most impossibly impoverished situations that she finds herself, she continues to declare I AM through her actions and relentless drive for a better future for her family. We feel very strongly that Edith and her family deserve a hand-up that will dramatically change the course of their lives; setting them on a path where Edith’s industrious nature and entrepreneurship will allow her to provide for her children and realise her own potential.