In March 2008, I (Tanja Dietzel) travelled for the first time to Gulu in Northern Uganda. A pastor introduced me to a group of women. Their church organised a project that was aimed at enabling the women to earn their living for themselves and their children. The women had learned to make paper beads out of coloured paper strips. They had already produced a large quantity of beads, hoping I would find ways to sell them. They did not know that I am not a businesswoman. During that time, I was working for a large NGO in Uganda, serving them as a tourist coordinator and guide. I was often wearing the paper beads myself, and the tourists wanted to buy some for themselves and their beloved ones. I ordered more and more necklaces from the Northern Ugandan women and sold them to the guests. I sent all profits to Gulu and received great feedback from the women.
They told me over and over again that their children could now go to school and the family was able to build a new hut. Furthermore, they were able to upgrade the daily porridge diet with beans.
But what was most impressive to me was the change in their appearance, their nature and their eyes. To see how they walk upright now, to know that they and their children can sustain themselves, to dare again to hope and to have dreams. The phrase "You've made me into someone again!" has not gone out of my head.
Therefore, we called our association “From Nobody to Somebody”.
Our objective is to support the women of Africa so they can encounter their dignity, self-respect and value again.