We have met with Emma Scullion, founder of Awamu and Together Festival, respectively a charity that supports vulnerable children and women in Uganda and a small, intimate and friendly three-day festival that celebrates peace, love and unity with friends and family to raise money for Awamu.

Hello Emma, thanks for taking part in this q&a. Could you give our readers a synopsis about Awamu? What has inspired you to set-up the charity?
This is easy, there is only one reason I set up the charity: the impressive women I met in when I visited Uganda in 2008.
Their lives had been torn apart by the HIV virus, but they still share what little they have and give all their energy to help those around them. They are the driving force for change in their community.
They are a network of determined women who walk the streets of the slums in search of children and adults in need of their support.
They encourage adults to confront their fears and help them navigate the medical system. They offer care and protection to those, who are too weak to look after themselves or their families.
They provide safety and care for orphans. Their support means the difference between life and death for the most vulnerable in their community.
They are truly inspiring!

Can you give us some examples of how the community has benefitted from your work?
The children we work with are the centre of everything we do. We focus on education, skills training and creating stable families for orphaned and vulnerable children.

With support from everyone that takes part in Together Festival we are able to ensure that 120 children can complete their education. We help cover school fees, uniforms, shoe and text books. All of which would be out of reach for the children we work with.

Last year over 1484 women, children and vulnerable youths received skills training to help them generate income.
Our 20 Community Volunteers have made over 10,145 home visits to provide care, support and ARV adherence to HIV positive adults and children and they supported over 2072 people (including 1256 children) with direct referrals to test for HIV and helped to understand their status
345 children and 70 guardians were trained in kitchen gardening
88 children and 24 adults are directly involved in growing food and managing our three community food gardens.
Families involved report they now have two meals a day (rather than one).

During your travels to Kampala, what is the food that you have enjoyed the most and did you get to witness it being prepared?
You can’t go to Uganda without enjoying Matoke, beans and greens – actually Sukua Wiki is my favorite dish (basically, braised collard greens). Delicious!
I also really love a Rolex – which is my favorite street food. Its an egg omelette (and sometime vegetables) wrapped in a chapati.
Usually cooked in front of you and eaten steaming hot wrapped in some scrape paper. There’s a stand on nearly every corner but my favorite is near the school we work with in Bwaise.

Do you have a 5 minute recipe that the children from Kampala have cooked for you?
We grow a lot of greens/Sukuma wiki in our community food gardens because they’re delicious and rich in vitamins (great for boasting your immune system and filling you up!).
Sukuma Wiki is a favorite – I’m told it originated in Kenya and that
“Sukuma wiki” is a Swahili phrase meaning, depending on how you translate it, “week-pusher,” “push the week,” or “stretch the week”.
It’s a favorite of Fahad and Hameria who showed me how to make it.

Chop your greens into rough 1/2-inch pieces, including the ribs. Roughly chop the tomatoes. (If you have enough you can reserve a hand full fresh tomato pieces for garnish.) Peel and dice the onion.
1. Heat oil in a large, deep pot. When it is hot, add the onion and cook for about 8 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. When the onion is getting soft, stir in cumin, coriander, and turmeric (these are optional – use what you have!) . Stir in the tomatoes and cook for about 2 minutes.
2. Add the greens one handful at a time, stirring constantly to coat them with the onions, oil, and spices. When they have all been added, sprinkle the salt and a generous amount of fresh pepper over them and stir.
3. Pour in 1 cup water. Cover the pot and turn the heat down to medium. Cook for 10 to 20 minutes, or until the greens are tender to your taste.
4. Remove the lid, turn off the heat, and toss the greens with the lemon juice (also optional!).
Serve hot, garnished with extra tomato!

And can you tell us a bit more about Together 2019 and what are you looking forward to seeing most?
We’ve got a cracking line-up.
For me it’s a rare opportunity to have loads of people I love all in one place at one time – dancing Together – meeting their friends!
I love watching people interacting and the smiles on their faces!
I love seeing all our friends kids making new friends or reuniting with friends they met last year.
It blows me away how much people are interested in finding out more about the women and children we work with in Kampala.

I have my ticket – what will I expect during the festival weekend?
Great music, dancing, smiling friendly people and some really great food!

How do you choose your food suppliers?
We love food and its always been a big part of our festival experience! We do a lot of testing and tasting before we invite someone to join us at Together.
Their food has to be exceptional, but they also need to be lovely people who understand what we’re trying to do!
We’re particularly pleased with this year’s suppliers:
Asian Grub foundation
Sicilian Street food
Ganders Goat
And home made cakes and snacks from the Awamu café!

Tickets for Together Festival are now on sale.
August 2nd-5th in the beautiful bucolic settings of a working farm in the High Wycombe area. The exact location will be shared nearer to the event dates.
There will be a an eclectic line-up of musicians, dj sets, and visual artists. This is a family friendly festival with lots going on for little people!
Like Awamu, the festival is run by volunteers and 100% of any profit is donated to Awamu’s projects.

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