Women, children, and families in developing countries like Uganda, are often afflicted by extreme poverty. Many families in the areas of Uganda where WE International works are unable to meet their basic daily needs. The result is that children can be forced into extreme labor situations and deprived of access to education. This vicious cycle of poverty keeps them from moving ahead in life. Women, for various reasons, can be forced, coerced, or defrauded into prostitution. Because of fear, governmental corruption, and a lack of control, these women find it nearly impossible to leave this lifestyle once trapped in it.
We wanted to do something to help break this cycle. As a program of WE International, WE Stand started in 2009 when we started bringing handmade jewelry and handicrafts of Ugandan entrepreneurs back to sell in the States. This expanded the entrepreneur's market to include not just their local markets that predominantly relied on tourism, but the western market which has had an increased demand for handmade international products. Our WE Stand program began by selling at small house party events, but later expanded through this on online store to make it easy to for customers to buy products and for us to sustain growth.
Today, WE Stand helps individuals generate revenue to meet their personal and family needs. The profits are invested back into WE International, the WE Stand program, and the WE Empower micro-finance program. Every product sold provides our friends in Uganda with an opportunity to create a better future for them, their families, and their communities, and we feel privileged to play a part in that story.
WE Stand empowers individuals and their families in Uganda by providing a platform to sell product through an online store dedicated to selling their products.
Many of our WE Stand products are made by our micro-finance clients as a part of our WE Empower program which gives our micro-loan recipients a sustainable business model and provides entrepreneurship training.
WE Stand is committed to fighting poverty and injustice by providing a platform for entrepreneurs to sell their product, thus creating jobs and transforming lives of people in Uganda.
An individual joins the WE Empower program to gain business and entrepreneurship skills. He or she brings his or her talents, including weaving baskets or making jewelry, and learns entrepreneurial skills to start up a business. Together, we help our applicants create a tangible business plan and apply through WE International for a micro-loan.
Next, through our WE Empower program, chosen applicants receive micro-loans to help with their business startup costs. We encourage our micro-loan recipients to establish a self-sustaining business within their local community. Any revenue they make goes towards paying back their micro-loan, but more importantly revenue helps cover expenses including children's education or family medical needs. For some, it becomes a viable way to make a living.
As an additional business platform, we offer to sell our micro-finance clients' product through WE Stand. As products are made, WE International buys the product at a fair price in country. Products are then brought back to the States and sold through our WE Stand platform both online and in person at events and Home Parties.
Profit from the products goes back into WE International for further expansion. Portions are also invested in our WE Stand program which enables us to purchase more product, and in our WE Empower program for further micro-loan provision.