Wrap Up Africa (WUA)

When he was diagnosed with cancer, it seemed like the end of the road for Joel Okwerede, however, the need to eke a living pushed him into tailoring with Wrap Up Africa (WUA), a micro-enterprise organisation that makes African handmade apparels and crafts.

Using entrepreneurship as an anchor for social change, and as a foundation for benefiting cancer patients, Okwerede has gained from WUA programmes including tailoring, outreach and treatment.

Ms Sarah Malan, the country director of Wrap Up Africa, says the tailoring programme was conceived with the goal of assisting families with financial burdens associated with a cancer diagnosis in Africa and providing funding mechanisms.

WUA uses mainly cloth cuttings, which are recycled into apparel for new use.
It has a daily output of about 30 pieces of finished garments mainly dresses, bags, blouses and dolls, which are sold to specialty stores in the US under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa).

“This is a great project that need to be supported by both the government and other stakeholders,” says Ms Susan Muhwezi, the special presidential assistant on Agoa and trade.

Like any other business, sourcing fabrics for production, is one of the challenges affecting WUA. Because it ideally uses cotton, there is need to partner with an enterprise that can persistently provide fabrics.

Wrap Up Africa, is a business model that uses market resources to help address development issues. The Uganda based organisation was founded by Letha Sandison in 2008 to help cancer patients and their families earn a living even in times of sickness.

Ms Letha believes that WUA can help to eradicate poverty and mitigate the suffering of Uganda’s cancer patients through education, employment, gender equity and untimely empowerment.

“Not only is this an exciting new way to approach some of the world’s toughest problems, this model also ensures that benefits are extend beyond a few hands,” she argues.

By Nicholas Kalungi, Daily Monitor

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