WOMA Fundraiser 2017

Isle of Wight Randonnee 2017



Dear Friends,
I wanted to say a very big thank you to all of you who supported Fran, James and Ffion’s cycle ride round the Isle of Wight st on Sunday 30th April.
Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t kind this year. It was a cold and very windy morning when they set off and by the afternoon it was raining as well.
Despite the conditions, James achieved his personal best for the 100k route.  Fran (who couldn’t be too far away from 7 month old Matthew) and Ffion completed the 55k route in a very good time. 
So far we’ve raised £1,230 – enough to put two women through training in Uganda. Another £270 would mean we could train a third woman, so if anyone would like to donate, but hasn’t so far there is still time.
To donate you can either follow this link to Fran and James’s fundraising page  https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Randonnee2017
Or you can make a direct transfer to the WOMA bank account  – Sort code 20-44-86    Account Number 50128678
Or you can send a cheque payable to WOMA to me at 7 Defoe Avenue, Richmond, TW9 4DL.
I am immensely grateful to Fran, James and Ffion and to you all, for your continued support.
Nora x

WOMA’s latest TRAINEES – March 2017

WOMA welcomes our 13th intake of women!

Jalia Namayanja, Gorreti Nakijjoba, Ruth Nakabuye, Miriam Nabukenya, Christine Birungi and Teopister Nassimbwa begin their training at the Namasuba College of Commerce in Kampala.

Jalia Namayanja
Gorreti Nakijjoba
Ruth Nakabuye
Miriam Nabukenya
Christine Birungi



On the course at the Namasuba College of Commerce, Veronica along with the other WOMA graduates learned how to sew a variety of garments including – gowns, shorts, skirts, pinafores, baby dresses and shorts together with skirts and school uniforms.

In addition to this she attended entrepreneurship lessons where she was taught how to set up her own business and manage customers. Now that she has finished her course she would like to design and make her own clothes.

She plans to rent a workshop with Carol and Nusura and together they will be looking for contracts for sewing school uniforms.

After finishing her course Nusura approached a neighbour to ask if she could use her machine to complete making her Gomesi, the traditional wear of the Buganda tribe in Uganda. She is now planning to rent her own machine and will be looking for work as an assistant tailor.

Carol is looking forward to renting a machine and putting into practice the skills she’s learned on her course.

Joyce has already been successful in getting a tailoring job in the trading centre of her village in Eastern Uganda and has already started saving. She is very excited about the future and says her life will never be the same.

WOMA Newsletter May 2015

woma_logo_smallMAY NEWSLETTER 2015



Dear friends and supporters

WOMA is ten years old this year and like most ten year olds, we want to celebrate it with a party !

We very much hope that you’ll be able to join us to mark this milestone, at a pre-concert birthday party.

On Monday 6th July from 6pm at the Purcell Room,  Royal Festival Hall

We will be hosting a drinks reception at 6pm in the Queen Elizabeth Hall Foyer for all our friends and supporters at this magnificent riverside location, followed by an evening of Greek Blues with Martha D Lewis and friends. The concert starts 7.45pm, tickets cost £16, to book your ticket please follow this link:
Click here to book tickets on-line through the Sounthbank Centre.

Martha has been a steadfast supporter of WOMA since it’s birth and has very generously agreed to donate part of the proceeds from the concert to WOMA. It will be a chance to update you on the work WOMA has been doing over the past year or so and share with you our plans for the future.


2015 has already proved to be an extremely busy year for WOMA. Spring kicked off with field visits by Nora and Karen to our two main projects in Uganda and Kenya.

In Uganda, our focus was the capital Kampala where we visited some of the women, who have benefitted from tailoring training in recent years. Among them was Barbara Nambuya.

Barbara Nambuya

Barbara is a WOMA trainee who graduated in 2007.  She is a widow and had lost her job and had no means of supporting herself and her daughter Katrina when she heard about WOMA.  She applied for the tailoring course and over the past few years she has gradually grown her business and now shares a workshop with another woman and rents a stall in the market in Kampala a couple of days a week to sell her garments.

To read more about Barbara and some of WOMA’s other success stories please  click here

What was so striking was the motivation the women demonstrated in establishing their own businesses, often in the face of huge personal challenges. Many of the women we train are either HIV+ themselves or helping to care for other loved ones who are living with the virus. In the past 10 years treatments and services have dramatically improved but it doesn’t take away from the fact that the women we train are a pioneering generation of HIV survivors. Being HIV+ is no longer a death sentence but it still poses enormous challenges.

On our final day in Uganda we held a WOMA mentoring and motivation summit in the gardens of the National Theatre in Kampala.

group shot of everyone who attended the summit
group shot of everyone who attended the summit

Nearly 40 of our graduates gathered for the event, many of them braving overnight bus journeys from the rural areas to attend. They brought with them armfuls of brightly coloured fabrics, furnishings, printed textiles and fashion creations, in a proud display of the products that they are now designing, producing and distributing.

Many of the women used it as an opportunity to exchange business tips and share their experiences with fellow WOMA graduates. The most recent graduates arrived in a flurry of excitement, proudly wearing their home made graduation gowns and carrying armfuls of “samples” of their work .

Thanks to your continued support of WOMA, we are able to provide dozens of women each year, with the tools to transform their talent for tailoring into a marketable skill. Many are now running their own businesses.

It costs around £450 pay for a course that can transform these women’s lives and we would ask that you continue to support WOMA to achieve that goal.

We were grateful to have some representatives from Equity Bank attend the event. Their engaging team provided some useful insight and tips to the women about micro loans and savings so that once the training with WOMA is complete, they can stand on their own two feet. We are now hoping to build on this to explore future partnerships with Equity Bank.

For Nora and Karen it was especially poignant to see some of the women who we trained nearly ten years ago. Alice, Flavia and Martha were among our first graduates and their presence was enormously inspiring for the newer recruits. The children of these women (who when we first met them were desperate to go to school but couldn’t because of lack of money to pay for the fees) have exceeded all expectations.

All of them have completed their schooling and many are now studying at or have just graduated from university.  That would have been unthinkable ten years ago but it is living proof that your support to WOMA is not simply helping the women themselves, but it is transforming the futures of their children as well. Meeting the women made us extremely proud and I think it was a day which none of us will forget.

The “grand finale” was the presentation of a brand new sewing machine to one of the graduates who had recently raised the deposit to purchase the machine. WOMA buys the machines wholesale, then distributes them to our graduates at 50% of the cost. There was a queue of other graduates in Kampala awaiting delivery of their machines – their first piece of capital, enabling them to step out into the world of business.

Sharon the teacher is demonstrating to her students how to drape a simple dress
Sharon the teacher is demonstrating to her students how to drape a simple dress

A short hop over Lake Victoria by airplane took us to Kenya where we spent some time in the classroom at Nairobi’s Buru Buru Institute of Fine Arts (BIFA). This bustling academy, not far from oneof the city’s sprawling slums, is where our Kenyan WOMA students receive their training.

Dorothy, a WOMA alumnus, who is now running a small shop with a friend, returned with us to share with the class some of the skills she’s learnt.  She’s now a partner in a tailoring business operating from a small shop in the northeast of the city.

Dorothy and a number of other graduates have been commissioned by WOMA to produce our anniversary WOMA bags – A quality branded product which will be on sale at our birthday event in July.


We have just completed a fresh round of interviews for new trainees in Uganda and are currently advertising for new recruits to join our training programme in Kenya.


We are enormously grateful for the financial support, which you continue to give us but we are still struggling to find a permanent and lasting source of funding which would enable us to plan long term and operate more efficiently.

We would again ask if you would consider making a regular monthly donation to WOMA. The simplest way to do this is via our “Just Giving” page:  CLick here to donate through Woma’s JustGiving page


Our friends have been enormously resourceful in their own fundraising activities over the past year. We are grateful for all the sponsored events but would like to highlight a particularly impressive challenge.

Nora’s niece Fran, is once again taking on the 100k Isle of Wight Randonnee cycle race this weekend, in memory of Nora’s husband, Peter Brook and to continue his formidable fundraising legacy. Please consider sponsoring Fran Dennehy on her page: Click here to sponsor Fran and friends on her JustGiving page

Best wishes and thank you once again. We look forward to seeing you in July!

Karen, Nora and Debbie (WOMA)

WOMA Fundraiser: 100Km sponsored cycle around the Isle of Wight – May 3rd 2015. Donate quickly and easily through JustGiving

Francis Dennehy (Nora’s niece) and friends (Ffion, Jen, Nick and Natalie) are cycling 100km around the Isle of Wight on 3rd May 2015 to raise much needed funds for WOMA  and to continue the wonderful fundraising legacy of Nora’s husband Peter Brook.

Please show your support for this wonderful endeavor  by clicking on the link below and donating quickly and easily via Justgiving.

Click here to donate via Francis Dennehy’s JustGiving page
WOMA cyclists
Francis and team
In memory of Peter Brook
In memory of Peter Brook

6th July 2015: Join us for a special 10th Anniversary Celebration and Concert!

Come and celebrate our 10th birthday with us on  6 July  at the Purcell Room, Southbank Centre with a special concert by Martha D Lewis and her trilogy of the Greek Blues critically acclaimed as “a stimulating contribution to the margins and borders of World music”. .

Date: 6th July 2015
Venue: Purcell Room, Southbank Centre, London
Doors : 7.45
Tickets: click here to buy tickets on-line

Martha D Lewis – Trilogy of the Greek Blues

“Driven by a charismatic leader with a voice of clamorous and majestic power …”  The Guardian,

After a triumphant and nationally profiled debut in 2014,  this is a one off opportunity to see the ‘Trilogy of Greek Blues’ for a complete informative stunning musical journey.

Lewis leads top-class world and jazz musicians in a three-part show.   They journey through the history of rembetika*  from the music of urban Athens in 1910 through to 1950s repertoire reminiscent of Edith Piaf and Marlene Dietrich.  The evening culminates in Lewis’ contemporary recreations of classic rembetika songs by Roza Eskenazi, Queen of Rembetika.

*Rembetika , also known as Greek Blues, rembetika sits alongside other world blues like fado tango Chicago blues.

Proceeds to WOMA

Martha D Lewis
Martha D Lewis

WOMA 10th Anniversary Workshop – March 2015

39 of our WOMA trainees attended the event on Thursday 5th March held in the grounds of Kampala’s national theatre. Many women had travelled long distances to attend. Nora and Karen explained a bit about WOMA and how the funds are raised, through music events and family and friends being sponsored for sporting events etc.

We arranged for two speakers from Equity Bank to talk to the women about how to open a bank account and the importance of saving and how to go about getting a micro loan.

Some of our trainees who are now running very successful businesses shared their experiences of how they have managed to grow their businesses.

WOMA’s most recent graduates showing some of the clothes they have made during their course


Click below to see more images of the day

WOMA Newsletter 2014

Dear Friends

It is that time of year again when we give you an update on what we have been doing over the past year, inform you of how our WOMA trainees are getting on and look forward to future events.

2015 marks WOMA’s 10th birthday and we very much hope you will join us for some of the celebrations.


Six more women completed their tailoring training in Uganda in April 2014 and a further six have been recruited and began their studies in September this year. We are currently recruiting for the Kenya programme and hope to have one or two students in training at the Buru Buru Institute of Fine Art in Nairobi, by the start of next year.

Judith Twikirize
Judith Twikirize

Judith Twikirize from Kampala is typical of many of the women who completed the course this year.  She told us that not only is she now running her own tailoring business from a small kiosk not far from her home, but she is also being taken far more seriously by her community because of her new status as a businesswoman and is playing an active role in making decisions about the future.  There are still challenges in trying to gain access to capital but she now feels far more confident in navigating her way through the world of business than she previously did, thanks to the entrepreneurial skills she acquired on the course. In the picture below Judith is displaying one of the shirts she made for a neighbour.

Syliva Namuganga told us that since learning to become a tailor (something she previously believed was impossible) her life has been transformed.  She started her own business in June making shirts, shorts and children’s clothes for the local market. All the profits go into a piggy bank in her home but like many of her contemporaries she is in the process of opening a savings account. That is important because it gives her control of her own funds and financial decision-making in a community where often women have no say. Her two children have completed their schooling and Sylvia hopes to be able to pass on the tailoring skills she has learnt to a younger generation.

Many, but not all the women trained by WOMA are HIV+ and the feedback we have received from the vast majority of them is that their confidence and self-esteem has improved. WOMA does not distinguish between HIV infected and HIV affected women but integrating them further into their community and promoting HIV/AIDS awareness and education, is an important part of WOMA’s philosophy.

Maria Nakazibwe has carried on the family tradition of tailoring and got the blessing of her father who has now passed on the family sewing machine into her safekeeping. We have come across a number of these “legacy” stories from the women who have been trained. The skills they’ve acquired are being passed on from generation to generation and the income generated from small businesses is now making it possible to send their children to school.

Nora and Karen intend to visit to our projects in Uganda and Kenya over the course of next year and look at possibilities for expanding WOMA’s reach.


Fundraising has continued apace, despite the harsh economic environment but it has also been a difficult year filled with a sense of loss.

Peter Brook, Nora Dennehy’s husband who many of you will remember for his herculean efforts to raise money for WOMA, and his inimitable wit and energy at our popular music events, lost his battle against cancer earlier this year.  It was a tremendous blow to the entire WOMA family and to Nora and Peter’s children in particular.  Peter was WOMA’s No 1 fundraiser and as a tribute, Nora’s niece Frances and her husband James and friend, Liana, committed to cycling the 100k Isle of Wight Randonnee that Peter traditionally participated in.  They raised a phenomenal  £7,730!

For a small charity like WOMA that is an enormous sum and we would like to say a big thank you to Fran, James and Liana and Peter’s friends and colleagues who gave so generously.

Peter, Round the Island Race - May 2011
Peter, Round the Island Race – May 2011
Liana, Fran and James Round the Island Race 2014
Liana, Fran and James Round the Island Race 2014


We hope that our friends and supporters will follow suit and consider WOMA as a dedicated charity, if you are participating in a sponsored event. We can provide T–shirts and other WOMA branded goods and of course can help to promote your event via our Facebook and Twitter sites.


Plans are in place to host a major fundraising gig at the Purcell rooms at the Royal Festival Hall in London on 6th July.   It will be WOMA’s tenth anniversary and it will be a very special musical occasion.

We would urge you to save the date and will send out more details nearer the time.

Once again we would ask you to consider making regular donations to WOMA, which enable us to plan and be more efficient in the way that we use our funds. We are too small to be allowed to set up direct debits from your account but a regular standing order would go a long way to helping us stay afloat as costs continue to rise.  At present it costs £500 pounds to put a woman through tailoring school and given the way the lives of these women and their children are being transformed, we believe it is a small price to pay to make such a big change.


If you would like to make a donation or set up a standing order our bank details are as follows:

Barclays Bank

Account Name: World of Music & Arts Assists  (WOMA)

Account Number 50128678          Sort Code  20-44-86

Or you can donate via our Justgiving page


Thank you so much for your support and generosity; with your help we have already transformed the lives of many women through our training projects.  We may be a small charity but we have big hearts and we can assure you that the money you donate to WOMA benefits our women directly.

All the very best to you for Christmas and the New Year and thank you once more….

Debbie, Karen and Nora  (WOMA)

Sponsored Cycle around Isle of Wight in Peter Brooke’s memory – 3rd-4th May 2014

Frances Dennehy (Nora’s neice), her husband James and their friend Liana are carrying on Peter’s fundraising legacy by cycling around the Isle of Wight next weekend – 3rd-4th May 2014.

Peter’s dedication to raising funds for WOMA shows what one person can do.The £12,000 he raised over the past few years has enabled us to train around 35 women in Uganda.

Please show your support to Frances, James and Liana and donate to this great cause. Visit their Justgiving page: http://www.justgiving.com/Fran-James-Liana-cyclethewight

Many thanks.



WOMA is a charitable trust with a clear focus, made up of a small team experienced in working in Africa. Our aim is to help women across Africa who have been widowed or disadvantaged through war, famine or Aids.