In 2007, Siobhan Neilland founded OneMama, a non-profit that brings prosperity and health to people all over the world by empowering women as caregivers, mothers, businesswomen, and agents of change for their rural communities.
Siobhan employed her mission of empowering women, families, and communities to be successful through sustainable health, education, and economics in Uganda, with a model that could be replicated in all rural, poor communities around the globe.
Recently, the OneMama founder and CEO capped off 2018 at the OneMama Health Center in Uganda and Tanzania.
She chronicles her trip below;
“I usually go for several weeks in July but after a year of focusing on my own health, I worked with the time I had. It was amazing what we were able to accomplish in three short weeks. That is a testament of the growth the OneMama ground staff has made over the last ten years. We did really great work,” Siobhan explained.
Traveling with ten bags filled with medical supplies and new technology to teach the community, Siobhan and husband, Evan, hit the ground running to build out more economic programs to help make the clinic self-sustainable within the next year and a half.
I came down with a pretty bad lung infection while traveling in Cairo. I was on antibiotics and moving really slow… However, my staff went to great lengths to keep things moving and to show me all of their year’s work. They are able to do more with their own innovations and less with my interventions. Years ago, they would wait for me to arrive to get things done. Along with self-sustainable practices, this has been the goal all along. I was teaching them to fish.” Siobhan continued.
“Give a man/woman a fish, and you’ll feed him/her for a day. Teach a man/woman to fish, and you’ve fed him/her for a lifetime.” – Confucius
Seeing the team thriving gave way to a productive time together.
Siobhan and the team were able to implement new self-sustaining programs like:
- OneMama now has a new computer lab! We now have TEN new laptops for the community and five iPads for the nurses to use to take and store notes for patients!
“We are adding value and giving them resources they have never had access to before,” Siobhan said.
- Honey harvesting programs after a local family donated the beehives to the clinic.
- A field of tomato plants was planted to sell tomatoes at the local market. We have also begun to harvest mushrooms!
- The creation of an event tent rental and catering business to fund the clinic and to service local’s rentals for weddings, funerals, and graduations. We have already rented it out FIVE times in 2 weeks!
- We continue to make soaps; tire sandals, menstrual pads, and fishing nets for sale at the local markets.
- We are now raising livestock to breed and harvest to meet the needs of the local community! This will also include training for other communities to gain revenue, as well as to share in OneMama’s proven sustainability practices.
- Mama Jamira’s herbs are famous near and far so we helped her create a supply to package, properly label, and sell to those who come from miles away to get her care. We are getting these into local herbal markets to spread the joy even more!
- Joy = Success! We also bring FUN to the community! The OneMama girls soccer team is going strong and we just started a monthly movie night that play Disney movies and promotes the work we do.
“You have to look at the last ten years as a whole when painting the picture of how things have worked and how things have changed. The first few years OneMama lived solely on donations. In the second year, we started bringing in the clothes and fashion collection. Over the next few years, we perfected our clothes, jewelry and crafts to sell them to a wide international market and on premium stages like NYC Fashion Week,” Siobhan shares.
“Due to the political and economic environments, we have to change our model by depending less on international sales of goods and focusing on local markets and selling things that this community needs. Since this change, we have been heavily focusing on this for the last 2 years. To put this into perspective, up until two years ago 75% to 80% of funds came from donations and the sale of our OneMama Collection, items made in the OneMama programs in Uganda. These items were made specifically for the international market in the USA and Europe in mind. They did very well to keep us funded all of these years. Though, with this new political environment, it now funds only 20% of our needs.
So we are finding new methods that are working!”
The Ugandan staff, community, local government, and volunteers have stepped up to save the clinic like never before, but, like any new program, they take time to produce. That is where our International OneMama family can still help!
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Save the lives of 5 Mamas and Babies when you text “GIVE 14591” to 80100 to give $10 to GlobalGiving’s “Finish Building OneMama Pilot Program” project! There’s no simpler way to give back and make a difference! #OneMama #GiveBack #TextToGive.
To discover more ways you can join a loving family of supporters around the globe as we build a better future for the lovely people of Uganda, click HERE.
You can also shop for items through Kindness and Hope, which helps raise money for the people of Uganda, by clicking HERE
They are a happy community and they deserve all of our support. While I was in Uganda, I had women running to me to thank us for the domestic violence program because her and her husband are now learning ways to communicate without violence. This is just one story of how your donations, love, and support have changed the trajectory of the lives of the OneMama village! It means the world to all of us. – Siobhan Neilland
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