My name is Yonah Matsitsi and at Rufi I work as the assistant of the accountant. Our accountant is a woman and I happen to be working closely with her. But also I am in charge of the environment at Rufi. Joy did mention that we are known now. I must say Rufi is indeed known. Actually we must be second to none among the organizations that are having land around Kasese town because of our work. So I became part of this Rufi team. Looking at also my background. As Joy said, they looked at women, vulnerable women, girls dropping out of school because of money, because of these other issues of early pregnancies and early marriages and because I also had almost the similar background, we shared the same stories. Mine was like a real life experience because if it was not for some of the few relatives that knew the importance of education, then possibly I would have dropped out even though I was not a girl because of kind of domestic violence and those other issues. Then I found myself being part because we are singing the same song this time around.
As men that are part of this team, we also look at the environment because it is the environment that still affects women the most. Because people look at women as people who are supposed to look for firewood, supposed to cook. And when they cook, they also look at the trees and all that. So we are also trying during their trainings, to train them on other ways of how they can cook or how they can have their families move on without destroying the environment. And we are partnering with other organizations. Currently we are working with African Clean Energy which are offering smart stoves (which) are smoke free and in doing so we are also helping women in that area.
I must say the first piece of land we bought was out of a friend that we have not seen physically but we know her through Claus. And this land made us a shift from where we are renting because the first time we met with Claus we are in one rental room and a few years we have managed to move from this rental room to our own premises where we are trying to see if we can have more structures in the next few years to come.
Actually you must have seen the other first house that one was plastic made. Even this training hall is also plastic made and that's how it is becoming our plastic village because we feel like every house we intend to put there need to have a component of plastics because we are people who look at environment and who want to protect it. We have managed to put trees around. We want to have a fruit hub at the centre though the fruit trees have not worked all that well. But we are trying hard to make sure we have fruits within our trees. We first planted the trees that bring shade very fast but we are working on the fruit trees so that we move on like that.
So the centre is actually accommodating several services. So that's why Joy said we are very known. So even someone who is not coming for a skill, who is not coming for water at least is coming for milling. The other one who is not coming for milling is coming for water. The other one who is not coming for the first two is coming for the skill. So now these are the people that are not coming for these other services. Possibly they can now have another reason to come around, maybe a medical service, a school, something like that.
We also work with another international organization in Germany that is ‘Miteinander – Ma’an e.V.’.
Actually our main relationship started when we had the flooding of rivers in Kasese. It was so serious. Women suffered, children suffered as they were. Others were swept away with the floods, others survived. And then those ones with those that survived were left with nothing to eat or even to help themselves. Like home utensils and other things, houses were swept away. So through our partnership with ‘Miteinander -Ma’an e.V.’ we are able to get money from them basically to buy relief food, relief items to those women: Still in the same relationship we realized that the food that we are buying to them or relief items was not enough. Again we said, we believe in a skill. We rather not give something to eat that day, but we give a skill. So we even trained them. On top of the food we gave them, we trained them. And those women are very happy. Even when many things washed away with the floods. They were even, because these people were put in camps, displaced camps of people that lost their properties or houses. So they started weaving from the camps where they were camping or where they were staying and they started earning even when they were in that miserable situation. So we also have that relationship that is really keeping us every time we have a challenge as an organization. Those are our immediate partners we talk to.