Youth weave a new path

Teenage Syeda* comes from a humble family of subsistence farmers in Kensekka, an isolated rural area in Uganda where poverty has long shaped the lives of its residents. The community grapples with challenges: low income, widespread unemployment, child labour, early marriages, and illiteracy. These hardships have cast long shadows over the aspirations of its youth.

Education was a luxury they couldn’t afford and Syeda, like many, became burdened with adult responsibilities from an early age. Seeking to break the cycle, the community requested access to quality vocational education and skills development for its youth.

In response, St Joseph’s Kensekka Vocational Secondary School emerged. From the outset, the project faced immense challenges as the school lacked basic infrastructure. Connecting power, water pumps and installing security bars were significant milestones for creating a safe and conducive learning environment.

With these foundational steps complete, electric sewing machines and computers were introduced to provide new learning opportunities. Syeda is now enrolled in the tailoring project – acornerstone of the school’s vocational training and the promise of new beginnings for Kensekka’s youth.

For St Joseph’s, the tailoring project provides a sustainable income by producing and selling school uniforms to other regional schools. This income will ensure the continuity and expansion of the educational programs at St Joseph’s, nurturing a new generation of skilled youth.

With new found skills, Syeda and her classmates can chart a different path for themselves and their families. She has gained confidence and is inspiring others in her community. Every stitch sewn is a promise of a brighter future. Syeda dreams of establishing her own business and is encouraging her peers to learn skills rather than engaging in the hopelessness of poverty or an early marriage.

The tailoring project at St Joseph’s is more than just an educational initiative; it is a transformative force for the entire community. It provides youth with the skills to secure employment and fosters a sustainable economic model. The project showcases what can be achieved when a community unites with a shared vision and education paves the way for lasting change.

*not her real name

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