Banda Artisans is a program of Aggie’s Arts, which employs the artistic talents of its ladies to help them achieve economic independence. This program grew out of Aggie’s desire to alleviate the devastating poverty she herself experienced growing up and raising her children in the slums. Most of the Banda artisans were not believers when she selected them for the program, but Aggie helped them start a Bible study and all of them have since come to know Christ. Aggie checks on their spiritual health from time to time, and they know she prays for them.
Aggie’s Arts purchases handmade items from these women for resale primarily in the United States. Aggie coordinates the bead purchases, oversees quality control and handles any problems that may arise within the group. She also coordinates between the ladies and Aggie’s Arts staff based in the States, offering feedback and advice. Simon provides administrative support to Aggie by keeping track of purchases and shipments, and communicating with staff in the US. Aggie’s Arts is a non-profit organization, so raising awareness is an important part of the marketing strategy. To that end, Simon regularly photographs and takes video footage of all they have been accomplishing and sends them to their supporters. Short-term missions teams often delight in meeting the very ladies they have seen on Simon’s videos or heard about when working with Aggie’s Arts stateside. In Uganda, Simon and Aggie provide on-the-ground operations, communication and support, and are advisors to the Aggie’s Arts Board of Directors in the United States. They also have video meetings with small groups in the US, sharing the vision and heart of Aggie’s Arts and the other ministries they partner with in Uganda.