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Meet the Team
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Tophy Nakabiri

Tophy is 56 years old, easily making her a senior citizen in Uganda (the average life expectancy for a Ugandan woman is 50 years).  Even though she suffers from a heart condition which makes her tired for much of the day, retirement is far from Tophy’s mind.  She is the sole guardian of her two granddaughters - Prossy (aged 15) and Viola (aged 13). The girls’ mother and father both died of AIDS and there is no-one else to support them.  Prossy and Viola both go to school but Tophy is struggling to pay two sets of school fees. At the moment she only has enough to pay for Prossy to attend a good school.  However, she is determined that they both attend decent schools as she feels it is her duty to ensure they are well educated and find good jobs when they are older.

Tophy was born in a village in the Masaka district of Uganda. She met and married her husband who was a teacher there. Together, they moved to the capital, Kampala to seek a better life. They had five children, all of whom have since died of AIDS. Prossy and Viola are the only grandchildren to have been born and survived from all five of their children. Several years ago, Tophy’s husband left her for another woman and so Tophy is bringing up her two orphaned granddaughters on her own.


Tophy and her girls live in a rented house in a poor suburb of Kampala.  Her house is made of mud and sticks.  She can only afford to pay rent for a house without running water or electricity. Rent on a house with these luxuries would cost her three times her current rent.


Over the last few years, Tophy has managed to save enough money to buy a plot of land. She has started to scrape together the money to begin construction of a home for herself and her girls so her dream of living in her own home is still far off. In the mean time, Tophy’s priorities are school fees for Prossy and Viola and medication for her own heart condition.

Sarah Nabunya

You would never guess that this fun and bubbly twenty year old woman is the sole bread winner for her family of seven. Sarah’s father died when she was seven years old and her mother is now unfortunately too frail to work. Two years ago, a kind Englishman who she only knows as Thomas, paid for Sarah to attend a tailoring school in Kampala. She has worked at Nakawa Market for just over a year and manages to make enough money to pay for her family’s living expenses as well as five sets of school fees for her younger brothers and sister.

Sarah works hard and hopes to one day open a clothing shop rather than work as a tailor. But for now, her priority is for her 17 year old brother to finish school and go on to qualify as a teacher. Sarah hopes that once he has a job he will be able to repay her hard work by helping her fulfill her dream of opening her shop.

Sarah lives with her mother and five brothers and sisters in a mud hut without electricity or running water in a village on the outskirts of Kampala. 

Monica Kyomukama

Monica is a 28 year old single mother.  Her husband left her for another woman two years ago, leaving Monica with one son, Moses, aged four years.  But Monica is not resentful – it’s a very common story in Uganda. She loves her son and feels that she is more than up to the task of raising Moses on her own.

Monica is originally from a village in western Uganda but left there ten years ago to attend a tailoring school in the town of Jinja. This was an incredible opportunity for Monica, whose parents had not been able to afford school fees for her to complete high school. Monica was very fortunate to have her place at the college sponsored by a group of German donors and, to this day, Monica is extremely grateful. In 2000, Monica moved to Kampala on her own to look for work.  She describes this as her most difficult time but is proud to say that in only several months, she found a job at a uniform factory.

In 2004, Monica started renting a stall at Nakawa Market and she hasn’t looked back. Monica loves working at the market, with so many other tailors around her. She can always be found joking and laughing with people around her while she works. Her only priority is that she can earn enough to pay the rent for her home and the baby sitter who looks after Moses while she is at work. Her income from her work at Nakawa Market is only enough to enable her to afford a home without electricity or running water. This means that when she finishes work each evening she must fetch water from the local well and carry it home so the family can cook and bathe. Monica’s dreams for her future all revolve around Moses completing his education to university and she is working very hard to ensure that this happens.

Lilian Namirimu

Lilian is a motivated and bright young woman. She is 23 years old and in her final year of an interior design degree at university and works as a tailor every morning before class. Lilian has never formally trained as a tailor but her sister Joyce, who also works at Nakawa Market, has taught her every thing she knows. Lilian is highly intelligent and has a real eye for detail and so you would never guess this is not her chosen profession. When she completes her degree next year, Lilian hopes to work in a large architectural firm.

In the mean time, she must work as a tailor in order to earn money for her university tuition fees. Lilian and Joyce also run a small side business buying clothes from town and selling them at their market stalls. When she is not working at the market, university or studying, Lilian helps her father raise her 12 younger brothers and sisters who all still live at home.

Lilian’s mother passed away two years ago and so the older children in the family now carry additional responsibility. Although Lilian does admit that her younger sister Joyce has really taken on the mothering role because she is already married and is no longer studying.  Lilian lives with her father and her 12 younger siblings in a mud hut without electricity or running water.

Charmain Naigaa

Charmain is a 25 year old married mother of two. Her husband, Isaac, sells stationary on the streets of Kampala city centre. They live with their seven month old son, Rian and five year old daughter Aisha in a little house near Nakawa Market. Their house has no electricity or running water so when Charmain finishes work each evening she must fetch water from the local well and carry it home so the family can cook and bathe.

Charmain grew up in a small village in eastern Uganda in a very poor family. Her parents could not afford to pay her school fees beyond the age of 14 so she spent several years tending the family plot in the village.  This was until her uncle scraped together enough money to pay the fees for a tailoring course.

Charmain has been working at her stall in Nakawa Market for two years now and has never looked back. She loves her work as a tailor and hopes she and Isaac can eventually save enough money to buy a plot of land in their village on which to build a home for their family.

Annet Namutebi

Annet is 28 years old and a single mother of 9 month old Daphne. She was born in a village in central Uganda where she lived with her parents until they both died of AIDS in 1997. At the time, a German group sponsored her, along with other orphans of AIDS, to learn tailoring at a school in Jinja, a town east of Kampala. Annet stayed in Jinja for several years working as a tailor before moving to the capital in 2007.

Once in Kampala, Annet quickly found Monica, who was also sponsored at the same tailoring school. Monica showed Annet Nakawa market and encouraged her to rent a tailors stall there. Annet moved into a two room house in a neighbouring suburb with another single girl. Their house does not have running water or electricity but Annet feels very happy there.

At the moment, Annet makes just enough from her work as a tailor pay for her living costs, although, sometimes she must borrow from friends to keep afloat. Annet has a plan to gain financial independence. If she ever saves enough capital, Annet plans to buy children’s clothes from wholesalers in town and sell them at her stall and her village whenever she returns home. Hopefully, joining Ki Kati will bring her closer to this dream.

Joanne Natukunda
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Joanne is a 37 year old married mother of three. She is originally from the a village in the west of Uganda and moved to Kampala at the age of 19. Her oldest brother had already moved to the capital and offered to support her when she moved there.

In Kampala, Joanne married her husband, Robert, who is also from the same part of Uganda, when she was 23 years old. He became a policeman and now works at the police booth at Nakawa market. This means they travel to and from work together each day and can even sneak in lunches every now and then. This is very special and unique in Ugandan culture, where long lasting marriages are rather rare.

Joanne’s three children, Henry (14 years), Austin (9 years) and Priscilla (4 years) are all at school. Joanne is very pleased with her modern, small-sized family and hopes her children all complete school and attend university.

Adrine Nagujja
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Adrine is a 25 year old single mother of two girls, aged eight and four years. She grew up in a village the south-western part of Uganda in a family of ten. Her parents were subsistence farmers and so could only afford to send her to school until age 12.


Adrine moved to Kampala in 2009 when her sister offered her a job in her small general store in Nakawa Market. Tailoring work was not earning enough to support Adrine and her daughters in the village so she decided to leave her children with their father and move to the capital. Adrine hopes to earn money in to be able to send enough home to her girls to improve their lives there.

A friend taught Adrine how to use a sewing machine in 2007 and so she decided to use this skill to supplement her wage in the shop. The shop is right next to the row of tailors and so Adrine has rented a sewing machine out the front and serves customers between stitches. This makes her days very busy but she is very pleased with the money she is now able to send home to the village.

Adrine loves the excitement of life in Kampala and her greatest dream is to be able to afford for her daughters to join her there. In the meantime, she can only hope to save enough to travel to the village at Easter and Christmas each year to see her girls. She misses them very much but feels the sacrifice is worthwhile in order for her children to live a better quality life.

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