MIFUMI, Uganda – For over 25 years, the UK-based charity Comic Relief has been raising money through comedy for aid and development. Its annual fundraising festival, Red Nose Day, has raised over $145 million to date.
A champion of Red Nose Day since 2007, along with her band Girls Aloud, singer Kimberley Walsh visited Uganda recently to see how the money raised by Comic Relief is at work. She stayed at the village of Mifumi, where the charity is funding a project to empower women.
The Mifumi Project, as it’s called, was established in 1994 and has a regional network extending to Kenya, Tanzania, and even South Africa. It has reached over 50,000 women through education, health care, micro-enterprise development, and domestic violence advocacy. Walsh’s visit highlighted their victories over gender-based violence.
“Hearing how common domestic violence really is was shocking,” Walsh said. “I met some amazing women, who, thanks to the project, have found the strength to leave violent relationships, become financially independent, and lift themselves out of poverty. They now have enough money to send their kids to school so that they can get good jobs in the future, making a difference for generations to come.”
Walsh, who was quite moved by her visit, wrote about a woman she met in Uganda named Mary. Her article briefly chronicles Mary’s journey from domestic abuse to physical and financial security with the Mifumi Project. Mary, who is now one of Mifumi’s domestic violence advisors, is also a singer, songwriter, and actress. She established the first drama group in her district.
“My life has totally changed since joining Mifumi,” she told Walsh. “I have been able to feed and educate my children. I used to walk barefoot and now I have shoes. No more sleeping on banana leafs on the ground.”
– John Mahon
Sources: Huffington Post, Look to the Stars