2020maypapasdream"Papa's dream boat grant has lifted us from beggars to boat owners," says Emma from our Asembo sponsor site.

What started as a way to honour the passing of a loved one has resulted in the uplifting of an entire community.

Papa's Dream has supported three fishing groups with a total of five wooden boats, an engine, fishing nets, life jackets, fishing lamps and training. This has led to improvement of fishing activities and income for many families. Other successful small business initiatives related to fishing have since flourished at the fishing points and the government has recognized the progress of the groups which has led to the designation of a formal community fishing point.

In 2012, a generous donor called us wanting to support a community in honour of her husband who had passed six years prior at the age of 49. Since that day more than $8,000 has been donated to Asembo through the Papa's Dream Boat Grant supporting the livelihoods of dozens of families.

Victoria Samaki, a community fishing group in Asembo, was involved in a small-scale fishing business. The group included 13 widows and a man. They struggled with their business for several years. In 2014 they were blessed to receive a donation of a 27-foot boat and 15 hp engine through Papa's Dream Grant. The boat, named 'Papa's Dream' has been used for both dagger fishing and water transport across Lake Victoria, earning a good income for the group. Their business continued to improve, creating employment in the village. As the group's profit grew, they were able to hire four youths to do the fishing, and group members collected and processed the fish for market. Earnings from the boat are banked in a common account and profits are shared periodically.

This donation enabled vulnerable families to pay school fees and meet the basic needs for their families, especially their children. The grant has also assisted Victoria Samaki with other fishing equipment such as nets and lamps. The group members, who are mostly elderly women, have been grateful for the life-changing support.

In 2016, Papa's Dream Grant helped another group of vulnerable community members (Hope Alive) with the donation of a 24-foot sailing boat named Papa's Dream 2. Before this gift, the members relied on the mercies of other established fishermen to get fish for market or casual jobs during fishing season. Papa's Dream 2 was a turning point in their lives as the men in the group fished and the women processed the catch for market. Through this grant, our local staff organized training for the groups on group dynamics, business planning and financial literacy to enhance their activities.

In 2017 another Kokise fishing group was grateful to receive three boats through this grant. The group had only two boats, each with one small fishing net. The boats and nets were in disrepair and could only be used by a few people, resulting in very low catches of fish and subsequently, low income for the group. The new boats named Papa's Dream 3A, 3B, and 3C, have led to more people employed in fishing activities.

In 2019 the grant was used to help this group acquire large nets. The nets are operated by a bigger group of youthful fishermen and they have much better returns. The increased catch has brought back more people to the lake to fish, including those who had lost hope in ever making a profit from fishing. This has resulted in more spinoff jobs as fish traders and consumers crowd the beach to buy fish. The income from fishing has grown from around $10.45 CDN per day in 2017 to $98 CDN profit per day in 2019, which is shared among the participants as income. Papa's Dream has also improved the safety of the fishermen by providing safety gear.

The impact of Papa's Dream has been felt across the Asembo community. Both youth and women have been engaged directly in fishing through the equipment donated by the grant. The number of fishermen and fish merchants who earn directly from the fish has increased and the women who were once considered vulnerable, are currently able to provide most basic needs for their children through the fish trade. After much hard work by the community, the fishing point has been registered by the department of fisheries for further development.

The creation of livelihood opportunities is a proven way to break the barriers of poverty. Providing families a hand up to self-sufficiency provides a ripple effect through the community. Papa's Dream Grant is a great example of how a focused donation can uplift an entire community.
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