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The Sabo Project

The Sabo Project (also known as our Pouch Program) was co-founded by Ugandan native, Abami Kennedy, and Kelsey Sabo. Kelsey is a New York native living and working in Uganda as an English and literacy teacher. Alongside the unwavering dedication of Kelsey and Kennedy are the talented ARTISANS who bring this project to LIFE.

Meet the Tailors

Sanyu “Sally”

Sally is our lead tailor in Arua and has worked especially close with Kelsey Sabo to create each template, provide mentorship, and help translate for other tailors. Sally never liked the name her mother gave her so her friends gave her the nickname “Sanyu” which means “happiness” in Luganda (the language of the Central Uganda region).

As a child, Sally and her family were forced to leave Uganda during the war in 1982, and found refuge in the Congo where they lived for the next three years.

“After the war, we settled here in Arua, just over that border there from Congo, and we have stayed here ever since. It is my home now.”

A single mother of four, Sally’s smile lights up the whole village. When asked about her work with the Sabo Project, Sally shares that her earnings from the pouches have helped pay the school fees for her children and buy food for her family.

Awania “Ester”

Forced to leave school at fifteen-years-old due to lack of finances, Ester was determined to learn tailoring. She asked friends and family to lend her the money to pay for her tailoring course, which she finished in August 2016. Ester’s tailoring teacher introduced her to the Sabo Project employment opportunity.

With her earnings from the this program, twenty-three year old Ester is eager to pay back the money she was lent for her tailoring course.  Ester says she is also going to save up her income so she can one day go back to school and study Fashion Design but first and foremost, Ester will buy her own sewing machine because “a tailor without a machine is like a carpenter without tools!”  

Awania translates to “thankful”.

“Thank you for this project, it makes me ever happy to be a part of it. I am gaining more knowledge about tailoring and managing my money and also earning money for my family!” - Doris

Eyotaru


After completing primary school and attending four years of secondary school, Eyotaru spent three years attending a technical school where she learned tailoring.  Eyotaru enjoys being a tailor because she likes the empowerment that comes with earning her own income.

Eyotaru is thrilled to be working with the Sabo Project because, unlike most of her work as a tailor, with this project she is guaranteed work each day of production, guaranteed money each week, and even guaranteed breakfast and lunch while working. She enjoys gaining this experience and meeting new people from the local community and even America.

Twenty-seven year old Eyotaru is married to a nursery school librarian and together they have a baby girl named Letaru Faith.
Eyotaru translates to “talkative”.

Anikuru “Helen”

Helen learned tailoring at age nineteen and has been working in the profession ever since. She loves the freedom of working as a tailor because she can earn her own income and her financial stability is not dependent upon anyone else.

Originally from Terego, (a village about 15 miles away from Arua) Helen assures that the Terego traditional rat dish is “so delicious!”

Helen uses her earnings from the Pouch Project to pay rent, buy food, care for her sick mother, and help pay her nieces’ and nephews’ school fees.

kitenge (kit-ten-gay) :
traditional african textiles sold in local ugandan markets. These vibrant fabrics are handmade by women in the democratic republic of congo.

Koriyo “Jesca”

Jesca completed primary school but could no longer attend secondary school after her second year because studying for long periods of time would cause her extreme headaches.  Jesca took this challenge as an opportunity to pursue tailoring and she has spent the last four years flourishing as a local tailor.

Jesca tells us that she thinks the Sabo Project is “so good!!”. She expressed that the work right now is difficult because measurements need to be very precise but the work is coming easier to her the more she continues working on the pouches.  

With the money she earns from the Pouch Program, she wants to purchase a plot of land on which she can build her own home in the future.

Kevin “Mama Edwin”

With seven years of tailoring experience under her belt, it came as a surprise to learn that Kevin never intended on becoming a tailor. Upon her father’s mysterious death when she was fifteen years old, Kevin was no longer able to make her school payments and was forced to leave school in eleventh grade.

Today, Kevin is married to a secondary school teacher and they have 3 children between two and six years of age (with one on the way).  She plans to save her income from the Sabo Project so she can pay for her kids’ school fees, their future health treatments, clothes, and food.

When Kevin first heard about the Sabo Project, she stopped everything she was doing to attend the first meeting. Kevin expresses that she is very thankful for this project and she hopes she will continue to “do good work and to be a productive member of our family” (the DIFF team).

diff's purchase of these kitenge pouches helps fuel the cycle of independence and opportunity in aura, uganda

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Florence

An experienced tailor of ten years, Florence was forced to quit primary school in sixth grade because her mother did not have money to pay the school fees, nor did she want Florence attending school in the first place.  At the time, it was more common for a girl Florence’s age to be married off to a man (for which her family could receive cattle and money) and to stop attending school.

Florence is now a single parent to her three children: Ceasar, Joan, and Comfort. This determined thirty-year-old plans to use a portion of her Sabo Project earnings to finish the work her husband started on their house before his unexpected passing. In addition, Florence will use her income to cover the school fees for each of her children. She wants all three of them to complete school and get the education she was unable to receive.

Florence expresses that she is grateful for the Sabo Project because it provides her with knowledge, additional experience, money, friends, and even food throughout the day.

Doris

Departing home at sunrise and returning late in the evening, Doris rides her bicycle over fifteen miles daily to be a part of this project!

Doris saves all of her earnings to ensure school fees are covered for each of her three children. She is adamant that although she was forced to leave school at a young age due to lack of finances, her children should never have to.

In the words of Doris, “Thank you for this project, it makes me ever happy to be a part of it. I am gaining more knowledge about tailoring and managing my money and also earning money for my family!”

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