My name is Jamidah Namuyomba. I am an acid attack survivor from Entebbe, Uganda. I was attacked with acid on May 23, 2007 by my ex-boyfriend after my parents refused to let me marry him due to religious differences. I was attacked by my restaurant in Sembabule district. Life after the attack changed completely. I was rejected by my own family, forced to leave home on my own with fresh wounds to go to Kampala and seek treatment.
I am a single mother of five children. I do not have a job, but I have skills in counseling, basket making, jewelry and shoe making. I first learned how to make crafts from my aunt, who taught me how to make mats and table mats. I have been making crafts for 20 years. I also learned through the 2017 crafts training organized by End Acid Violence Uganda with funding help from RISE. In this training, I was trained on how to make Masai, Bitengi, piped and paper bead jewelries, and other crafts. Workshops helped me to learn how to make modern crafts. At first I used to make baskets only but due to the trainings (2018 weaving training), I learned how to make other products.
I make crafts to sustain my family. I sell baskets, shoes, and jewelry to different customers, both locally and internationally, to earn a living. I sell my products to customers I find on the way. I also take my products to retail shops and deliver them to friends who place orders. I walk to and from my home to deliver my crafts to customers and at times I use taxi for far places. The money I get helps me to pay school fees for my children and pay for house rent and other necessities. I enjoy making crafts because they help me realize that through craft making, no one can discriminate us based on facial disfigurement.
In the future, my business goal is to have at least three branches of craft shops in Kampala, Uganda. RISE has changed my life and I have reached places that I used to dream of.
I also hope that the craft making will help to reduce discrimination against acid survivors where people fear to associate with us because of the facial scars and assume that we are incapable.
Before the pandemic many people used to make craft orders and I used to sell them at a high cost unlike now where I buy craft materials expensively and customers now want cheap products. Because of the pandemic, people do not want to buy my crafts and are not willing to pay in time. I would like small businesses in America to get me market and teach me different designs and colors that are in market.