Looking back on Under the Tree’s journey, this lady instantly comes to mind. Kelsey and Caylin met Mama Molly even before God put Under the Tree (UtT) on their hearts. It’s clear that God had dreams for UtT and brought them all together in 2009 for a reason. Mama Molly is the co-founder of UtT and is a 53 year old woman of God. She has had a difficult life but states that “the fear of the Lord has helped strengthen me.” Mama Molly is a single mother who has lived through Uganda’s civil war while raising her children. She is HIV positive and receives antiretroviral therapy. Through the bead project, Mama Molly has been able to provide for her children’s needs. Mama Molly was able to put her son, Moses, through college where he earned his MBA due to the income she was receiving by making beads.
Ketty Oyat (Mama Ketty) Developer of Paper Beads in Gulu
Mama Ketty was the first lady to create paper beads where she lives in Gulu. Before this lady’s creative mind, Northern Uganda had no concept of paper jewelry. Despite living in desperate times, Mama Ketty decided to create something beautiful out of what she had. We have this awesome and spunky lady to thank for the origination of the paper beads. Mama Ketty is an 83 year old widow who was a mama to 12 children! Currently, she has 6 children who are still living (Mama Molly being one of them) and 6 children who have since passed away, many due to the war and desperate times they were forced to live through. Mama Ketty uses the income she receives from the beads to cover her cost of living as well as to support her grandchildren.
Piloya Emily: Program Coordinator
Kelsey and Caylin are extremely grateful for Emily, who is responsible for the communication between Uganda and the United States. Emily has a variety of responsibilities for the jewelry in Uganda including quality control, procuring and distributing supplies for jobs to the ladies, paying the ladies upon finishing an order, and ordering/buying supplies. Emily is a 30 year old mother of two. She is described by the other ladies as a God fearing and intelligent individual. Emily uses the income she receives from the beads in order to raise her two children.
Milly Grace Aken: Ugandan Co-Founder:
Milly is a 57 year old widow who is HIV positive. Milly receives antiretroviral Therapy in order to suppress the HIV virus and stop the progression of HIV. Milly is a mother to 4 daughters and 5 grandchildren. The ladies describe Milly as being the “spearhead” of the paper beads since 2001. Milly’s income from making beads has increased her standard of living and has allowed her to support her grandchildren.