Sally Rich (the Founder of Omiyo) had a son named Joey who took a college internship in northern Uganda in 2011. He met a group of women who were learning to make paper beads as a way to support their families. Most of them were supporting orphans of the recent war or AIDS, and they needed money to pay school fees. They were looking for a market for their work to cover the fees and their weekly expenses. At the time, Sally was the manager of a fair trade store in our town, and agreed to sell some of the women's first products.
As time went on, Sally expanded operations and got more involved with the hardworking women's work. She began to visit Uganda regularly to foster relationships, and exerted some influence on the styles being made. Not long after that, she started The Sparrow Fund, a sponsorship program that now supports the education of about seventy children. Eventually, Omiyo was started as a fair trade company that partners with the women artisans.
For most of the women the organization works with, their biggest (and most expensive) concern is the future of their children. As a result, Omiyo gives to educational projects in the communities where they work in addition to providing income for school fees and medical care. For every $5 you spend on a Ugandan product, Omiyo can donate enough to send a child to school for one day.