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Edith's Story

Edith's Story

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. We first met Edith and her young family in January 2021; she was doing everything possible to provide for her children and, given her desperate circumstance, her accomplishments were laudable.

At that time Edith was undertaking manual labour on various local farms to help cover the cost of school fees and requirements for her two oldest children, fourteen year old Cyrus and eleven year old Sherinah (Sherry). Her youngest son, then three year old Shadrach, would accompany Edith during the work day, as the closest option to childcare would be nursery school, which was a further expense and simply unfeasible

Hardship & Heartbreak

In the few hours when Edith was not working for others, she would work on her own small farming plot, providing a significant portion of the family’s diet. As if there were any time left in her days, she also found moments to make clay bricks, which she fired and sold locally, while her own home stood woefully inadequate and beyond useful repair.

Edith found herself in this crisis through no fault of her own. Soon after falling pregnant with Shadrach, Edith’s husband of twelve years vanished from the family home. The most upsetting aspect of this for Edith is that even now, almost seven years later, she hasn’t been able to establish the truth of any reason why or even where he went. Immediately following his disappearance, Edith came to terms with the likelihood that he had simply abandoned the family when faced with the hardship of raising another child. It is heart breaking, but sadly not uncommon.


Edith’s handling of her abandonment is a testament to her courage, dedication, and selflessness; but her situation was becoming increasingly desperate in spite of her tireless efforts.

The family’s tiny house was dilapidated, though not through lack of effort to upkeep it, rather a lack of resources and support. The red mud hut wasn’t much larger than ten feet square. It was unsafe structurally and in terms of security, with no lockable doors or windows., which left the family particularly vulnerable at night.

Edith, Cyrus, and Sherry regularly maintained the walls of the house, as the mix of earth and rough cut dry grass was at least in plentiful supply, but the thatched roof was failing and did little to keep out Uganda’s frequent torrential downpours. Before we had made any commitment to work with Edith, she acquired some used corrugated roof sheets with which she replaced the thatch; again doing all she could to improve her family’s circumstance. Inside, the single room house was dark to the point of eye-straining, even during the day, and the bare earth floor shifted between states of dry red dust and dark claggy mud depending on the weather.

Edith and her children lived their lives out of this 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 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.

A Committed Partnership

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 found herself, her actions and relentless drive for a better future for her family declared the maxim,  I AM. We felt very strongly that Edith and her family deserved a hand-up to change the course of their lives; setting them on a path where Edith’s industrious nature and entrepreneurship would allow her realise her potential. Not long after meeting Edith we committed to helping build a new family home, however long that may take.

Patience & Hope

After a year of fundraising (pic – fundraising banner) we found ourselves in a position with sufficient funds to build the main structure of the home, but not yet with any funds for the facilities, such as the rainwater harvesting system. In January 2022 the decision was taken to commence the home build, while continuing to fundraise for the required facilities costs.

Edith's Home Build Gallery

A Home

In May 2022 Edith and her family officially moved into their new home. Although we had anticipated making this a very low-key affair, we also had to be respectful of Ugandan culture and such a momentous occasion could barely be let to pass without a little pomp. Alongside the main home, the build provides a separate kitchen building, with smokeless-oven, and a separate sanitary block, with two toilet stalls and a bathing area. The facilities, while basic, make for a little convenience, with a rainwater harvesting system and filtered drinking water station, and a solar power installation for lighting and power outlets. As families often come from accommodation where it has simply not been possible to keep household effects we make provision for basic essentials such as crockery, cutlery, jerry cans, and basins. We also provide basic furnishings such as beds, mattresses, bedding, and a small table and benches. While non of these items are luxuries, they help make the house into a home and make life a little more comfortable from the outset. Since completing Edith’s home, to today (April 2024), Edith & I AM have been able to make some improvements to the property, including an upgraded solar power installation, replacement glazed windows, and a secondary water storage tank to make full use of the water run-off from the roof. The home has also been repainted externally, in keeping with our more recent build projects. 

A Hope

Once the family had settled in a little, we took the opportunity to speak with Edith about the possibility of vocational training or a small business start-up grant. After some careful consideration Edith settled on a course of tailoring training with a local tutor. She progressed very well with her lessons and soon began to take on small repair works, while continuing to gain experience making clothing for herself and the children.

As Edith will soon complete her training and is growing in confidence, she has been instrumental in proposing a business venture where by our other home build partners (who are interested) could join forces to offer their services, in particular to local schools for the supply of uniforms. This would allow for some flexibility on working hours and mean they can work from home and meet throughout the week to organise fulfilment of the workload. 

We thought it was a fantastic idea and offered to help with the training, equipment, and materials for those other I AM partners that would like to take the opportunity. This is something we will update this page with as things develop for Edith and the others. 

A Future

Three years on from when we first met Edith and her family, their future looks very different. The family’s general health is very much improved, in part through access to clean drinking water and improved sanitation infrastructure. Provision of mosquito nets and their new dry and clean home environment is also a big factor.

Edith has started on a journey to develop a business with great promise of success and in the meantime is able to supplement the household income through other tailoring work. As a result Edith has been able to enrol Shadrach in school, which has freed up some of her day to invest further in their own agriculture projects and other income streams.  

Cyrus has recently finished his GCSE equivalent exams and is considering his next step, be that A-Levels or a vocational training course.  Sherinah will start her first year of secondary school soon and is a very diligent student.

The initial investment, to help build a home, is much further reaching than simply addressing the immediate accommodation needs of the family. We believe that quality of life begins at home. The conditions under which you live and consequently the general well-being and health of you and your family – regardless of material comfort – have a tremendous impact on your expectations, your concerns, and your priorities. By also providing opportunity for training and development, Edith has begun to take control of her future and the opportunities she can in turn offer to her children.      

Thank You

Thank you so much to everyone who has supported Edith and her family on their journey so far. With the promise of so much more to come, we’re certain we’ll be updating this page again soon.