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As you all may have already known, John and Francesca have visited Uganda and Tanzania. They have been helping our new VORI project with it’s first footsteps as well as checking the MSTC wokshop in Mwanza. Below you can find Francesca’s report about what has been going on so far.


When we arrived at the beginning of February the container hadn’t arrived yet and the workshop building was just starting.
Two months later the workshop is finished and functioning, while the new container has been emptied and transformed into the office for the manager. By the end of next week we will also be completing the training room.

uganda1Checking and refurbishment of tools has started and the 50 sewing machines provided this year will all be refurbished by the beginning of next week. It has been intense and hard work.

Due to the late arrival of the container allocation of tools and sewing machines has not started yet, but we hope to catch up in the next months

Due to the late arrival of the container allocation of tools and sewing machines has not started yet, but we hope to catch up in the next months


Meanwhile, after waiting for quite a long time, Rambia a group from Western Uganda which requested tools from us over a year ago, was able to visit ASTC and collect a building kit, a carpentry kit and two electric sewing machines for their project. Was quite a challenge to transport all of this on a boda-boda (motorcycle taxi). We hope they will make good use of the tools and the sewing machines and we wish them all the luck for their project.


On the 22th of March we travelled to Mwanza and visit the MSTC project for one week.
The project is building up its capacity after the fire disaster in July 2013. New shelves and a new grinder room have been built, including a storage space for the material purchased with funds from Lloyds.

In 2014 MSTC trained nearly 100% of the tailors receiving sewing machine from the centre. This is an incredible result and reason of pride for MSTC and TFS. The trip was also an opportunity to go and visit some of the groups whom received support from MSTC during the years. Groups are happy with both the machines and the training programme and some of them actually requested more training in both maintenance and dress design.


The centre is currently employing two members of staff, Christina (training officer) and Athman (workshop mechanic). The visit was also an opportunity to meet Jane, the former MSTC manager, and thank her for her work in developing MSTC.

Stay tuned for more news!

First shipment to our project in Uganda

Hello everybody

We are excited because last Thursday 27th of November we sent the first container to our project in Uganda, the “Artisans Support and Training Centre” (ASTC). We expect that in the middle of January the container will be arriving to Uganda, just when our partners John and Francesca are going to give support and advice to the WORI people in the building of the workshop. Before, on 21st of December, our partner Simon will be coming back to Uganda after the three months training in the Belfast workshop. For that purpose, we sent in this container 55 sewing machines, about 6000 tools, all the indispensable materials for training (like cloth, thread and books) and 7 bicycles which will be used by the mechanics who Simon will train when he will be back in Uganda. That mechanics won’t probably live near the workshop, so TFS want to provide them the transport to it according with the ethics of the organization about the respect of the environment.

10712677_742024535847490_6847254102428500444_oWe don’t want to forget that this container was dedicated to the memory of Natania Hagen, who was a TFS Downpatrick volunteer until a few months ago. It was a very special moment to have their family and friends with us in the shipment and we want to say thanks again to them. We did a little tribute to her in the container painting.Natania's family

Finally, we want to talk you about the day of the shipment because we had the company of representatives of the Ugandan and Chinese community in Northern Ireland, the Falls Women Centre and the NI parliament representative Anna Lo as well. We wanted to use the shipment for say no to racism and promote the elimination of walls between cultures, ethnicities, religions and every human group. We spent a very good time together and we expect to do it again in the future. 10613005_893394997338328_2486099630514134846_n

The next moths will be interesting and very important for TFS with the beginning of the work in the ASTC and we will inform you about everything.


TFS is going to Africa!

On the 12th of July, two TFS volunteers will be leaving for a field trip to Tanzania and Uganda. Francesca and Stephen have been preparing for this trip for months to make sure that our work here in Belfast best meets the needs of artisans in East Africa.

Francesca and Stephen
Francesca and Stephen

During the first week they will be visiting the MSTC project in Mwanza where they will meet with the local partners and staff to discuss the programme and future plans.

During the second week they will travel to Jinja, Uganda where TFS is looking to establish a tools centre in partnership with WORI. They will be meeting with the mechanic and the manager of the programme to discuss the implementation of a programme to support artisans in the Busoga sub-region of Uganda.

During these two weeks they will be visiting some tailors and artisans groups that TFS has supported in the past to assess the effectiveness of the programme and the training.

We wish them good luck on their travels! We will tell you all the details when they come back.