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Uganda Trip - press release
01/05/2017

South Wales group will learn how Ugandans turn self-reliance into businesses

Members of ground-breaking groups helping South Wales people reach their true potential will be travelling to Uganda in May.

They will be learning how locals there have created businesses which are boosting their incomes and helping their communities.

The self-reliant groups were founded by Pontypridd-based charity and not-for-profit microfinance provider Purple Shoots.

The aim is to help groups of people grow and develop, to discover new skills and talents, to give people confidence, and help them start their own businesses.  Purple Shoots wants to help them generate their own income, and boost their communities at the same time.

The two-week trip which begins on May 4 is being organised by the charity PONT (Partnerships Overseas Networking Trust), an organisation which has forged strong links between Rhondda Cynon Taff and the Mbale area in South East Uganda.

PONT’s aim is to tackle poverty and improve healthcare in the Mbale region by twinning organisations in RCT with their Ugandan counterparts.

Over the past decade, more than 1,000 visits have been made to Mbale by people from RCT thanks to the connections created.

The group travelling to Uganda on May 4 will include:

·        Drom Thomas, aged 42, from Treherbert. She is working with Purple Shoots founder Karen Davies to start a new self-reliant group in Treherbert.

·        Richard French, aged 63, and his wife Chris, aged 58, attend a group in Ystrad, Rhondda, which supports isolated people in the community. They use crafts to develop skills and raise funds to fund their group.

·        Rita Evans, aged 63, and her daughter Sarah Evans, aged 38, who are from the Crafty Buddies group in Swansea. This group funds itself by making craft items together and sells them at craft fairs.

Purple Shoots founder Karen Davies will be joining them.

She said: “Self-reliant groups are more well-established in Uganda. So, we will be learning lessons from them.

“We’re excited to see how self-reliant groups there have developed and how they are flourishing.

“As some members of our group have disabilities, we are also expecting to face logistical challenges travelling around the country. Our members are not daunted by that challenge, though!”

Purple Shoots is covering the cost of Richard and Rita’s trip, as they are carers for Sarah and Chris who have disabilities.

The trip is being arranged by Keith and Susanne Lewis of PONT. The charity is covering all the other costs of the trip, supported by the Wales Africa Fund.

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