Last month, eleven Sseko Fellows had the opportunity to travel to Uganda and visit Sseko’s workshop, meet women who are creating our products, and see firsthand the impact of their work as Sseko Fellows.
Four of these women shared a snapshot of their experiences, and it’s getting us SO excited to go back!
KAREN: I’m a Sseko Fellow in Michigan, and this experience in Uganda happened right as I was quitting my full-time job to focus more on Sseko, teaching online, and working on my blog (basically living an introvert’s dream and staying in my home office as much as possible).
Uganda exceeded my expectations in all the ways.
Somehow, prior to departure, I thought that I could go on this trip without returning fundamentally transformed, and that naivete just makes me smile now. My understanding of the impact that Sseko has, both in Uganda and in the US is so full now, and I have no doubts that we are doing business in the best way for everyone involved.
One of the best things for me was getting to connect with our past, present, and future college-bound teams. I came back from this trip feeling so ready to bring the Sseko story to my community, and I’m already seeing a difference in my business, both in how my customers connect with the stories I share and (especially) in the confidence I feel in offering women the opportunity to take part. After this experience, I’m not even sure I can identify as a true introvert anymore – not once did I feel like I needed some time alone to recharge. This sisterhood is truly amazing!
TANA: Traveling to Uganda was a next-level-amazing experience, I will attempt to summarize! Leaving home was hard, I have never traveled abroad. I have 3 young kids I was nervous being so far away from… I mean there are natural fears of “what if something happens to me.” Upon arriving at the Sseko Uganda workshop, as the big door swung open, and our Sseko Sisters greeted us with smiles, hugs, singing, and dancing… my heart discovered a new inclusion of the word “home.” They say, “home is where the heart is,” and I truly left a piece of my heart with my Sisters in Africa. While there, not only did we each pour so much love and life into one and other, I also discovered a deeper meaning behind who I am and whom I’m called to be.
This world is not for hope alone. We must act on our hope through faith. There I’ve found growth, healing, joy, deeper connection, new friendships, purpose (I could go on. The Fellows with me were…WOW, incredible women I am blessed by sharing this all with). At times I admit to feeling overwhelmed, confused, and unsure If I was meant to be here. I may be a fragment of the impact at Sseko Designs, but together as the whole, this sisterhood is creating REAL change in our world!
During conversations with the women in Uganda, had they said no words (this was not the case. Ha!) …I’m pretty sure I would have seen it in their eyes alone, the gratefulness of what together we have created in this life-changing company. I can stand strong in my part of it all. Coming home and sharing with my kids, my husband, and my community has been extraordinary. It is awe-inspiring to see the influence my journey to Uganda is creating in the hearts of others here in the US. Seeing my “fragment” of the story, the page in our novel at Sseko come to life… knowing there’s so much more to be written, and in sharing my story, I can gift others with the same opportunity to be a part of this too.
HEATHER: As a Food Safety and Quality Assurance Manager for a beef processing company, that lives in Glendale, AZ (previously TX and NC); I had always dreamed of being able to go to Africa, but never thought it would actually happen.
When I found out I was able to go on the Sseko Fellows trip, I was excited but it all seemed so surreal. Even after landing and sleeping in Uganda for a night, it seemed like I wasn’t halfway across the world. When we arrived at the workshop, I was so nervous that I wouldn’t fit in; but I immediately felt like I was at home, everyone was so welcoming and so excited to talk to us!
Meeting all the women at Sseko Uganda and at Cornerstone Leadership Academy, and seeing how lovingly the products were created and how long they take to make; it gives me a whole new love of Sseko and wanting to share the story with anyone who will listen.
Sseko is more than just a direct sales company…it is a shoulder to cry on, an open ear when you need to talk, someone to celebrate success with, a sisterhood, both in the US and in Uganda. It’s a home. Something you can either do as a hobby or as a business and know that you are having a huge impact on the lives of extraordinary, brilliant, talented, beautiful women that are wanting to break out of the cycle of poverty and become the leaders of Uganda.
GENA: This was my second time earning the Uganda trip as a Sseko Fellow. Thanks to my team and working hard to share our story I was able to surround myself with some of the best, brightest, and most empowering women I will ever know. Some highlights for me this year were being able to be a part of my Sseko Sister Sharon’s news that she is expecting a baby boy and to have her daughter, Given, ask me “Auntie Genavieve” to hold her. It melted my heart being a mom of teenagers who don’t want to be held anymore.
I also was so excited to see so many of our past CLA* women at the reunion dinner from 2015, 2016, and 2017! The joy on all of our faces catching up was intoxicating. And lastly, our upcoming CLAs, to have met from what I believe is a divine appointment, Susan (my mother’s name) and Jenah (my name) was just so humbling.
To have Jenah who will be a Senior next year tell me about her dream to go to Antarctica and then to feel defeated because many of the other girls don’t feel it is realistic, made me think of my own daughter. I shared with Jenah about my daughter’s dreams and her struggle to live in a small town where some feel her dream to be an astronaut and go to Mars isn’t realistic either. Jenah proceeded to write my daughter an inspirational letter telling her, “Though we are from two different places we shall reach our dreams, those who choose it, reach it.” It was so powerful to have a young woman speak the words that I want to speak to my daughter, especial one with such an impactful story like Jenah.
*CLA’s are young women who are working at Sseko during the gap between high school and college to earn an income and a scholarship from Sseko that enables them to attend college! Learn more about our impact HERE!
If you would like to join Sseko just like these women (and MANY more), fill out an application to become a Sseko Fellow!