Pretty and Fair: Tukula Interview & Give Away

I want to start this post of with a throw back photo from my time in Uganda, with a wonderful young woman I met and lived with while I was there. Her name is Melissa, and she was such a blessing to me in such a time of change, inspiration and healing. She is the one who gave me my first set of knitting needles, introduced me to M. Ward and one of my favorite books of all time, Walking on Water, by Madeline L'Engle. So many of my wonderful memories of Uganda involve Melissa. One of my favorites was the time we met this amazing man named Samuel, who had escaped the LRA as a child. He took us all the way out into the Northern Ugandan bush to look for a tiny village, where we would try to find Betty's grand mother, on the back of a very tiny motorcycle. That was one of the most beautiful and awe inspiring moment of my life, riding on the back of that motorcycle, going so fast through such tall grass, Melissa holding on to me and me holding on to Samuel for dear life. 

Here she is in the home of one of the ladies we worked with, rolling and sorting beads. Melissa is one of those people whose love is tangible. I could see intensity in which loved these Ugandan women by how much time she would spend simply being with them, quietly enjoying the presence of another person, having a sense of silent camaraderie. Melissa stayed in Uganda for quite some time after I left, more than a year. Her now husband, Joe, came to join her, and they were later married over looking the Nile river. She and Joe are now leading up their own endeavorers empowering Ugandan women to support themselves and their families through crafting gorgeous hand made accessories. I am so proud of what she is doing, and inspired beyond words. 

I am so excited to share with you, new readers, this Pretty and Fair post. Tukula (meaning we grow in Luganda) is a cause-driven business invested in giving local Ugandan entrepreneurs an opportunity to grow above poverty. Tukula does this by giving artisans an above average wage for quality handmade products, an encouraging work environment, medical care and access to international markets. They are then able to provide themselves and their families with homes, food, education, and hope for the future. Through working with Tukula, these ladies are gaining confidence, joy, and the opportunity to empower others. 

I would love for you to check out Tukula, their story, their gorgeous shop, and most importantly, the ladies that make the whole thing worth it. Get to know Melissa a little bit better through this little interview:

K: When did fair trade become important to you? How did that effect
your life and the way you viewed your purchasing power? 

M: Fair Trade became important to me after my first trip to Uganda in 2007. I saw people working so hard to make enough money to barely get by each month. After realizing this I started researching different groups that were making fair trade items that I would usually buy from a big chain store. I started feeling better about my purchases and hoped that this would help me be a better steward of my resources.

K: How did that evolve into starting a business empowering women in Uganda?

M: After my second trip to Uganda it really became clear to me that there was a huge need for young women to receive jobs. Especially young women who were going to school for tailoring. The tailoring market in Jinja, Uganda is completely saturated - which means recent tailoring school graduates were unable to get enough work to provide for their families let alone help them have the opportunity to grow in their work environment. I began forming relationships with these young women and their families and it was obvious that I had to do something.

K: What are your dreams for Tukula, where do you want it to go?

M: I love the small family group we have with the Ladies in Uganda I would love to grow it but to also connect other small family groups of women around the world. My dream is to work with about 40 women from different countries - connecting them with each other and also with international markets so that they can provide for themselves and their families. I get really excited when I think about Sally (tukula tailor) connecting with a lady in Thailand who may also make bags. I think connecting the consumer with the artisan who makes their product is so important but connecting artisans around the globe... I can't stop smiling about that.

K: How has developing relationships with the Tukula artisans impacted you?

M: I can't imagine life without Bennah, Esther, Sally, Susan, Lydia, and their families. They have taught me a lot about courage, determination, and joy - which I hope to pass on to others

K: Is your favorite Ugandan dish still "Small Fish".  I could not bear to eat it while I was there but I think I might enjoy it now...

M: Haha oh small fish! It definitely doesn't taste as horrible as it smells...but yes I would say that it is one of my favorite ugandan dishes as long as it is served in g-nut sauce!


Melissa has generously giving one of those gorgeous hand made, Shami bags for grabs. I have a similar bag that a sweet Ugandan friend made for me, and I am constantly stopped and get comments on how beautiful it is. I use it as a grocery bag, a diaper bag, and a knitting project bag too! I am so jealous that I can not enter this myself! This particular bag is extra special because it is literally one of a kind, Melissa let me know that the entire shipment of the rest of the bags in this print was lost in transit, so this really is one of a kind!  

To enter:

You must be a follower of Kalanag through GFC &/or Bloglovin.


1. Check out the shop and come back to comment on your favorite item.
2. Like Tukula on facebook.
3. Like Kalanag on facebook. 
4. Share this give away on either Facebook or in a tweet.

Please make sure to comment with each entry. A winner will be picked at random by next Friday. Good luck! And Thanks again to Melissa and the ladies of Tukula. 

thanks for reading,


  1. so sweet! i follow you on gfc :)

  2. i like the sling bags, but also love the kids head wraps!

  3. i liked tukula on facebook!

  4. I love the Shami blue bag but they are all gorgeous!

  5. I already liked Tukula on facebook!

  6. I just liked Kalanag on facebook!

  7. I really like the kitenge clutch!