Life Changing Vocational Training for Young People in Slum Areas of Uganda

For many young people in the slum regions of Uganda, the only opportunity for a better standard of living, and the possibility of a life out of poverty, is to learn a vocational skill.

Awamu is a wonderful grassroots charity, working with a team of very determined women in the Bwaise slums of Kampala, Uganda, to change the lives of orphaned and vulnerable children by doing exactly this.  Led by the ever-energetic Emma and Florence, this small charity is having an amazing impact on the lives of some of the most vulnerable children in their community.

Fonthill is delighted to be working with them to fund a programme of vocational education and skills training, in partnership with Ugandan organisation Tusitukirewamu. The courses, offering training in IT, tailoring and mushroom farming, will give orphaned and vulnerable young people, and their families, essential new skills, and the confidence to increase their income. With a steady income stream comes the opportunity for young people to regain control over their lives, and create opportunities for a more fulfilling life out of the grip of severe poverty.

The programme started in Kampala earlier in the year, with an amazing turnout for the courses on offer. Reporting on the early success of the project, Florence wrote:

"The project kicked off with training in businesses and marketing for all groups in December, followed by the start of our computer literacy classes. We have found those that have access to, and are able to use, the web & online tools have greater success during and after the course.

Although we had identified and shortlisted individuals for the computer literacy classes, more than four times the number turned up on the first day. In order for us to make the classes meaningful for those selected, we had to turn the others away. However, we've managed to add a second class to the timetable and created a waiting list for this group. We will look at the outcomes of the initial phases and decide what the way forward is for this in the future, given the overwhelming interest in it.

With the tailoring project we initially struggled to find a new workshop as we were let down by a few landlords who changed the price or let the room to someone else - there is rising demand for space in Bwaise now. So, we started the initial tailoring classes in our old space, which was a little dark and damp! 

But now, as you can see from the pictures, we have found and moved into, a new light, bright space about 100 meters from the office and close to the main road, so it will also be great for selling products when we get to that stage.  Attendance is fantastic - there is high demand.  The biggest issue is keeping classes to the agreed number so those attending get the teaching attention they need to reach a good standard.

The initial training for the first two groups on the mushroom farming course took place in December and early January. Planting of the first gardens starts soon."

We look forward to reporting on the success of all the programmes later in the year.

To find out more about Awamu visit www.awamu.co.uk