I’m SO excited to announce that Usborne Book Barn is partnering with Aggie’s Arts for a Summer of Love!
This June and July, I’m donating 25% of each order to support this wonderful charity that helps women and mamas in Uganda. Aggie’s Arts is celebrating its 10th year of empowering women in Kampala, Uganda, and I’m thrilled to help make a difference together with you!
Who is Aggie?
My journey to where I am today began with my parents’ journey. My father, who is from the Karamojong tribe in Uganda, came to Kampala seeking work. He found work as a house boy for a white man but he struggled to make ends meet, and his school studies suffered due to lack of money to pay for the fees. He ultimately ended up living in a slum. My mother is from Tanzania. At the age of 17, she was being forced to marry a 70 year old man when she decided to escape. Not knowing where she would go, she boarded a ship and landed in Uganda. Through their journeys, both of my parents ended up in the same slum called Katwe, which is where my eight siblings and I were born. Our life together was always a struggle to find food, clothing, and the fees for school.
When I was 15, I became pregnant by a man who was abusive both physically and sexually. For 16 years I was beaten on a regular basis and spent many nights locked out of my home as a form of his abuse. He would leave me for other women, including prostitutes.
Throughout these sixteen years, I had five children with him and they were not spared from this torture. They too were beaten by their father. They also experienced his lack of provision. He never provided food, clothing, school fees, or medical fees. During this time, I was the one who was trying to make ends meet and support my children in these needs.
One day this man, whom I had spent 16 years with and had 5 children by, sought to kill me. I ran for my life and ended up living in a nearby slum. After a few weeks, he left my children in the house alone. I saw my opportunity and went to retrieve them. The children and I continued to live in a slum with very little food, sometimes one meal a day and other days we went without food. At the time, I did not have a job because my children’s father had stolen my business which I had used to support us.
During this time, I taught in the house churches, served as a worship leader, and translated for volunteers coming to the slums. In the midst of all of our need, we were serving God, seeking His provision, and trusting Him to come to our rescue.
What happened next?
Well, it’s a love story!
In 1995, Simon came to Huntsville, Alabama, to earn a Master’s of Atmospheric Science degree. He finished in 1997 and for the next ten years worked in the university’s atmospheric sciences department. In July 2006, God led Simon to accompany a group on a two-week mission trip to Kampala, Uganda. For ten years he had been sponsoring a boy in Kampala through Compassion International, and when he heard about the trip, he couldn’t believe it! While he saw this as an opportunity to meet his boy, God had much bigger ideas for this Australian atmospheric scientist.
Simon met Aggie for the first time when he walked into the ministry center in Kampala. There he saw a beautiful, joyful Ugandan woman interacting easily with everyone, and he could not take his eyes off of her. Simon did not know that she was watching him too. Over the years, Aggie had been observing the visiting missionaries, seeing the way the men treated the women with dignity and respect. She wanted a husband like that, and on that day one of them stood before her; and he was clearly smitten.
As they got to know each other, she told him she had five children at home. He did not run away! But, he did wait until the last day to tell her his feelings for her. They continued to communicate after he went home, and soon Simon was back in Uganda – this time for three months – working with a ministry alongside Aggie. During that trip, Simon asked her to marry him, and her acceptance permanently redirected all the plans he had for his future. Suddenly he was the father of five children he loved as his very own. God increased their blessing when Ivy was born to them a few years later.
After Aggie had been removed from her situation in the slums of Uganda, she and Simon wanted to assist other women and children who are dealing with the same struggles she experienced most of her life.
In the first year of their marriage, Simon and Aggie began working with a small group of ladies in the slums of Kampala, Uganda. These ladies were desperate for a way to provide for their families. Most of them were working for pennies a day in a stone quarry.
Simon and Aggie realized that some of the women knew how to make paper bead necklaces, they simply had nowhere to sell them. Using their contacts in the United States, Simon and Aggie were able to provide a marketplace for the ladies to sell their crafts.
Through the years, the income these ladies have generated through their craft sales has empowered them to build homes, send their children to school, receive medical care, and more!
If you’d like to make a direct purchase with Aggie’s Arts, please click here. They have gorgeous necklaces, bracelets, crosses, and more!
Click here to like Aggie’s Arts on Facebook.
Their US headquarters are here in Huntsville, local to me. I know some of the board members and have partnered with them before. My daughter’s school does a fundraiser with Aggie’s Arts each year. All that to say, this is the real deal, friends. Our Summer of Love can have a real impact on these women and their children, and I’m thrilled to donate 25% of book sales to support this worthy cause. I hope you’ll join me!
Click here to shop my online bookstore.
Click here or below to join my Special Peep group and get in on sales, giveaways, and all-around fun on FB.
Thank you so much for taking the time to learn about Aggie’s Arts and how we can help this summer! Have a wonderful day, friends!