IMPACT: A Vegetable stand = three meals a day.


Since joining 1000 Shillings in 2012, Elizabeth has pushed forward with determination to improve her life and the lives of her children.

She uses the skills 1000 Shillings taught her on a daily basis to expand her business and save money for the future. When she first opened her vegetable stand, she only sold greens and tomatoes. Now, a year later, Elizabeth’s stall in the market overflows with an abundance of onions, avocadoes, two different varieties of eggplants and more. Most recently, she added posho, rice and cassava. When she receives a high enough profit, she also purchases cooking oil to resell at her stand.

“I want my business to grow up. If it grows up and I get money, I want my children to study very well, [and] after that I want to buy land,” Elizabeth said.

Although she eventually hopes to build her own house so she no longer has to rent, Elizabeth’s first priority is putting her children through school. She began saving money one year ago, and regularly brings her extra earnings to Child of Hope for safe keeping. When asked about how her lifestyle has changed, Elizabeth simply says that her family is able to eat better and afford school fees. She prioritizes saving over buying new clothes and items for her house. 1000 Shillings enabled her to create this safety net in case anything happens to her business or any health problems arise.ElizabethBus1

“[1000 Shillings] are the ones who taught us to save money,” Elizabeth said. “If you get a problem in your business, you go [to Child of Hope] and they give you something and you add onto your business.”

Through the 1000 Shillings microgrant program, Elizabeth achieved her goals and progressed toward a life comprised of three full meals a day and many years of education.




  • Aidah is a recent convert to the Christian faith/church. She joined in January 2012, moved by the death of her second husband and desired a sense of foundation and security, community.

  • The Lighthouse Family Church operates within the Child of Hope School in Namatala. Many community members attend the non-denominational Christian service every Sunday.

  • Song and dance numbers punctuate the service. It’s a lively and animated performance.

  • Throughout the church service, Aidah flows in and out of the room. She periodically greets the late-arrivals.

  • Youth groups also perform proudly and hold a captive audience in the room.

  • Moses, the pastor, participates in some songs before diving into his hour-long sermon. This particular Sunday he lectures on “The Rapture.” Some audience members follow the scripture readings in their Bible and even take notes on Moses’ commentary.

  • Outside, Aidah has a keen ear on the service and can be found singing along to the familiar songs. - Meredith McEntee, Photography Fellow (Uganda 2013)

  • Aidah is a recent convert to the Christian faith/church. She joined in January 2012, moved by the death of her second husband and desired a sense of foundation and security, community.

  • The Lighthouse Family Church operates within the Child of Hope School in Namatala. Many community members attend the non-denominational Christian service every Sunday.

  • Song and dance numbers punctuate the service. It’s a lively and animated performance.

  • Throughout the church service, Aidah flows in and out of the room. She periodically greets the late-arrivals.

  • Youth groups also perform proudly and hold a captive audience in the room.

  • Moses, the pastor, participates in some songs before diving into his hour-long sermon. This particular Sunday he lectures on “The Rapture.” Some audience members follow the scripture readings in their Bible and even take notes on Moses’ commentary.

  • Outside, Aidah has a keen ear on the service and can be found singing along to the familiar songs. - Meredith McEntee, Photography Fellow (Uganda 2013)

The path to Lighthouse Family Church, the partner church to Child of Hope, is filled with raised voices and songs of praise. Although its location doubles as a small classroom during the week, over a hundred people squeeze together on Sunday morning to unite in fellowship and worship. The noise and sight of the church overwhelms the senses as drums blare, people chant, and arms wave in quick motions; however, it simultaneously creates a calming atmosphere as it calls Namatala to come together and rejoice in a new day.

Above all the sounds, the powerful voice of Pastor Moses, head of Lighthouse Family Church, commands attention as he preaches on God’s blessings and life-changing love. “God will take you to a good place.” He says with hands raised. “A place where there is no sickness. A place with no HIV/Aids. A place with no fighting. A place with no war. You will be transformed through the church.”

As the religious home of many 1000 Shillings ladies and their families including Veronica, Ester, Martha, and Mary, this church builds their inner strength during times of struggle while supplying them with a place to give thanks during moments of happiness and success.

This rings most true for Aidah.

“Last year, I was having a hard time. I needed help, so I started going to church to get closer to God. I found Him, and now I am a born again Christian.” Aidah says as she smiles and shakes her wrist with pride.

Being a part of Lighthouse Family Church changed her life. Once Aidah decided to learn more about Christianity and dedicate her entire self to growing closer to God, she altered her lifestyle to be more consistent to its Word. Not only did she start actively participating in church services, but she also began volunteering her time and energy to its upkeep. Now as an official usher, she hopes to exemplify the change God can make in a life by performing her job to the best of her ability.

This desire to grow closer to God influenced her weekly activities as well as her economic opportunities. It led her to purify her entire life, and as a result, she vowed to refrain from drinking alcohol and distilling local brew for income. She believes this will continue to please God, and in return, He will give her strength and courage throughout her life.

Aidah values her relationship with God. Although she does not know verses by heart or parables by name, she does not feel that determines or changes their bond. Rather, she knows her connection to God is real by the overwhelming sense of belonging she feels as she raises her voice in songs of praise each Sunday.

“When I go to church, I get excited because my relationship with God is getting better.” Aidah explains. “I sing praise to God, and I feel good. Even when I’m facing challenges, church and my God make me feel at peace.”

- Article by Jessica Ewing, Journalism Fellow (Uganda 2013)
– Photos by Meredith McEntee, Photography Fellow (Uganda 2013)


Q&A with 2014 Fellows!

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Thank you so much to everyone who submitted a question to our 2014 fellows. You asked and they answered!
Here’s what our 2014 Fellows had to say about life in Uganda:

What bird is that in the 1000 Shillings logo, and what is its significance to the organization?

Maryann (Digital Media Fellow): The bird in the logo is called the ‘Crested Crane.’ It is the national bird of Uganda. To us, it symbolizes the beginnings of 1000 Shillings working with six women in the Namatala slum of Mbale, Uganda.
Are all of the 2014 Fellows in college currently? And if so, what majors are they each studying for?
Sarah (Journalism Fellow): Four of the fellows are still in college and one graduated this past spring. I’m a diplomacy and world affairs major at Occidental College, Maryann is a double major studying marketing & writing and rhetoric at Syracuse University, Shoshana is undeclared at College of Wooster, Lu Lu is an engineering major at Princeton University, and Brittany graduated from Indiana University this year with a degree in journalism (with an emphasis in photojournalism) and a women’s studies minor.
Is clean water plentiful?  
Shoshana (Photography Fellow): Tap water is plentiful and easily accessible to everyone although it is not recommended for drinking. It is relatively clean compared to other parts of Africa, but few drink it if they can afford bottled water. Bottled water is also easily accessible and not very expensive. There are stores all over town and even in Namatala that sell 500mL of clean water for 1,000 shillings, which is the equivalent of 40 cents.
What is the level of education most of the women have?
Lu Lu (Photography Fellow): Almost all of our women completed some level of primary school, from P1 to P6 (the first and sixth/last years of primary school here in Uganda).
Do the women have access to birth control? Or do they believe in it?
Brittany (Photography Fellow): Yes, the women do have access to birth control. In fact, one of the women we work with receives contraceptives in the form of injections for 2,000 shillings ($.80 cents) every three months. Interestingly, we’ve learned there seems to be some negative stigmas surrounding birth control. For example, a lot of the women we work with fear they will become sick from using birth control. In addition, it is often considered more prestigious for a woman to have numerous children in the Namatala slum. These misconceptions adhere to the fact that Uganda has the world’s fourth highest fertility rate.

A Day in the Life of a Fellow: Brittany Broderick

Brittany Broderick

The days were at first rushing by, but now seem to be dragging on. I feel like I just got here, yet the first day seems like it’s an eternity away. I miss the comforts of home, but I know I’ll miss the women and children of Namatala.

I’ve grown close to the women, some more than others. I was assigned as the photographer for 6 women (2 from each year) and as the journalist for 6 different women (2 from each year). In all, of the 18 women in the program…I am closely working with 12 of them. Their stories are heart-wrenching but witnessing the incredible impact that 1000 Shillings has had on their lives is equally as inspiring.

My days start early, usually around 6 or 7. I spend the first half of the morning producing articles or editing photos until breakfast at 9. Breakfast usually consists of a heavy starch and some type of fruit. The kitchen rotates between pancakes, doughnuts, crepes, french toast and potatoes, with either bananas, pineapple, mango or papaya. Breakfast is followed again by writing and editing until it’s time to leave for Namatala around 12:15. The walk to Namatala takes around 45 minutes. I could take a boda (motorcycle taxi), but I prefer the exercise (plus, there’s a banana stand that I like to stop by and purchase bananas at for lunch).

Work starts at Child of Hope at 1 pm, however, “Africa time” must be taken into account—most of the women don’t arrive until 1:45 or 2. Although frustrating, this is a cultural norm we’ve had to get used to—nothing being on time. While waiting, we use this time to eat our lunch and play with the children.

Class time is spent working one on one with the women we have been paired up with to make products. During this time Sarah, Maryann (the other journalism fellows) and myself conduct interviews with the women we’re assigned to as journalists. Additionally, the business fellow meets with each of the women to assist them in working on their businesses. Our work day typically ends around 4 or 5, followed by traveling to photo assignments. Myself and the two other photographers (Shoshi and Lulu) travel with our journalism partners to the women’s homes to report on the week’s photo story (which accompanies the journalism article for the week). Because I am both a journalism and photography fellow, I have double the women to juggle. For instance, this past weekend I had to work in Namatala on one of my two days off. Managing my time between women and stories is stressful business, but the end result is always worth it and I love being with the women.

After a long day’s work, the trip back from Namatala is usually made by boda. We usually pair up, two girls per boda, and it typically costs around 500 shillings for each of us ($.20 in U.S. dollars). We arrive home at The Casa around 5-6 and rush to get showered. The rest of the night involves dinner around 7-7:30, which typically consists again of starch. Meals options are: mashed potatoes, rice, beans, spaghetti with meat sauce, beef with vegetables, chapatti, posho, matoke, cabbage, cow peas, and veggie pizza. Starch is a staple food here, so those of you who were worried about my lack of food…don’t stress. I’m gaining a healthy amount of weight. :)

The rest of the night is used for updating you all back home through email and Skype calls, followed by typically preparing photos for Maryann to use for social media content.

I’m the old woman of the group, so I typically head to bed around 9:30-10.

Note: This is a re-post from Brittany’s Blog,



1000 Shillings Scholarships!

1000 Shillings is offering scholarships to its 2014 Fellowship Program in the amount of $500 and $1,000.

$500 Scholarship

In exchange for working as an ambassador for 1000 Shillings we will be offering a $500 scholarship toward your program fee.

Ambassador duties include recruiting for next summer’s fellowship program by presenting twice on behalf of 1000 Shillings at a local college or university, and hosting two 1000 Shillings product parties.

$1000 Scholarship

In exchange for working as an intern for 1000 Shillings from August – December 2014 we will be offering a $1000 scholarship towards your program fee.

The Fall Internship duties will include helping edit content, posting content to the website and Facebook, and recruiting for next summers fellowship program. You will be required to give 1000 Shillings at least 10 hours per week. This internship is best served by someone who was in Uganda working with the women and knows their stories, which is why we are reaching out to you to give you this opportunity. The internship will also look great on your resume and give your portfolio a boost when looking for future jobs.


All accepted 2014 1000 Shillings Fellows are welcome to apply for the 1000 Shillings scholarships.

Scholarships are awarded on the basis of a Fellow’s proven leadership and investment in the 1000 Shillings mission; a priority is placed on providing support on the basis of a Fellow’s demonstrated financial need.

In order to apply for these scholarships please email with a brief cover letter (no more than one page) telling us how you will advocate for 1000 Shillings as an ambassador or as an intern, and, simply, why you need this scholarship.  Please indicate in the subject line of your email which scholarship you are applying for.

Chicken Killing and Love

Relationships 101: Advice with the Women of 1000 Shillings

Food 6

When traveling to Uganda as a single 22 year old, there are some questions that are asked repeatedly: Why? Do you want to get married? Are you engaged? Do you have a boyfriend?

Luckily, there is always someone’s brother who needs a nice American fiance ready to be called if things start looking bleek.

In the world of Ugandan dating, there are few rules and even fewer single women over the age of twenty. As an available American woman with no gentlemen callers waiting for my return to the States, I asked some of the 1000 Shillings women their tips and tricks for reigning in an eligible African man–all purely for the journalistic cause, of course.

Mary, one of the new 1000 Shillings women, has been married for twenty-five years, a veteran of love and making it last.

“You will have a heart connection,” she said. “Love each other and you will connect everywhere, especially the heart.

Peace, another new woman working with 1000 Shillings this summer, has been married for fourteen years and offers similar advice: “Pray to God, he will give a husband when the time is right,” she said. “He gave me my husband when I was only fourteen.”

Realizing that when I was fourteen years old I didn’t even want to hold anyone’s hand, I pressed on, asking another newbie Sara for her own advice.

“They’ll like you,” she said. “You look smart!”

Sara also offered interesting advice that is difficult to remember about Ugandan culture. “Some men fear white women because they often have more money than they do,” she said. “Men here like to be the providers. It scares them when they are not.”

Luckily, recent unemployed college graduates with no income are nothing for Ugandan men to fear, an uplifting thought for anyone struggling in the 2013 post-graduation economic slump.

Of course, no piece is complete without a man’s point of view. Hassan, a Nile River rafting guide gave this wisdom: “Ugandan men want a woman who cooks and cleans.” The female rafters present were less than favorable to this opinion.

Perhaps the most notable advice of all came from Martha, an alum woman who has worked with 1000 Shillings for two summers. After some candid conversations about dating and the allure of being white and big-boned, Martha gave the advice I will take to as the one pure truth of dating.

“Wear lower cut shirts,” she said. “And give your man an entire cooked chicken, preferably killed by your own hands.”

It is often easy to forget that the women of 1000 Shillings are more than their unfortunate financial situations and struggles. These women have all experienced love, heartbreak, and relationships, and these aspects of their lives are as essential to understanding them as their pasts and aspirations are. Like American women, they enjoy gossiping about their significant others or about how happy they are to be independent and single. Love is truly universal–the chicken killing, maybe not.

- Article by Kelsey Ognibene, Journalism Fellow (Uganda 2013)
– Photo by LeeAnn Langer, Photography Fellow (Uganda 2013)


1000 Words

Photo Credit: Avery Canty


This week we are celebrating Lofisa – her accomplishments, her dedication to her tailoring business and inspiration she has given everyone at 1000 Shillings!

Use the coupon code “lofisa” for 40% off the products she makes for 1000 Shillings, and read along this week as we post more about her life, business, family and journey with Polio.


Namatala Slum – first impressions

Soccer 2.leeann

Poverty is something we hear about in classes, see on television, and read stories about, but walking through the Namatala slum helps define the word with much more clarity. The circumstances of this poverty doesn’t get much worse, because it would be difficult to survive on much less than In the 20,000 person slum of Namatala unclothed children can be found playing in the dirt, clay huts without windows or doors checker the hillside, emaciated goats and dogs roam the streets in search of a next meal, while women are longing to sell fruit and vegetables, often times already rotten, they have laid on the dirt, etc. This is poverty that can be smelled, tasted, and seen.

The bombardment of the African children as Westerners enter can be a bit  overwhelming. The best kind of overwhelming, that is. They jump, scream, shake hands, laugh, and yell, “Hello Mzungu! (white person). The children will speak Swahili to each other, and run their mouths a thousand miles an hour, but the second they see the face of a white person they will holler, “Hello. How are you?” The African children gaze into the eyes of westerners grinning ear to ear as they jump on you and grab your hands. At first you can’t help but assume they are about to ask for money. Or worse, trick you into learning some African dance while their buddies snatch your bag. In reality, westerners are just as fascinated with the African children as the African children are fascinated with westerners.

Unfortunately, the addictions of gambling and drinking are universal. It’s a sad reality to see the women slaving away to make even 1,000 Shillings ($.40) per day and find the men hidden in alleyways huddled around a table drinking booze and gambling what little money they have. The single mothers of Namatala are doing everything in their power to feed and clothe their children. While the men, most of them fathers of abandoned families, drink their responsibilities away blowing every penny they own as their children starve.

Just a few facts on the Namatala Slum:

  • 20% of the population has HIV
  • 1 in 5 Ugandan children are orphans
  • 1 in 7 Ugandan children will not live to age 5

Despite statistics such as these, the happiness radiating throughout the slum is remarkable. The people of Namatala grin ear to ear and radiate joy because they focus on their blessings, not their trials. It’s the most cliché saying in the world, but it’s also the truest, money doesn’t buy happiness.

- Article by Chanel Barnes, Journalism Fellow (Uganda 2013)
– Photos by LeeAnn Langer, Photography Fellow (Uganda 2013)

1000 Words

Photo by Alexis Young

Photo by Alexis Young

1000 Words

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Photo by Corinna Lander

1000 Words

Photo by Corinna Lander

Photo by Corinna Lander