Ms. Betty Akingol aged 15 years old is a former graduate from Nile Vocational Institute Jinja who was identified in 2011 by PLA working as a domestic worker at Nsambya police barracks. Betty a former child domestic worker has three siblings with both parents but separated. Her mother is a farmer / peasant staying in Karamoja while her father stays in Jinja and works as a policeman. Betty attended school up to Primary two but since her mother could not afford supporting her, she was brought to work at Nsambya police barracks as a child domestic worker.
Fortunately, during the mapping of the child domestic workers in the area, Betty was one of the identified children who needed PLA's support. With the help of a task force member, Betty was withdrawn and placed at Nile Vocational Institute where she took a six months course in hair dressing. After completion, Betty got a job at a task force member's saloon in Nsambya police barracks where she is currently gainfully employed. On a good day she earns 2 USD and when the saloon is not so busy she is paid around 1 USD.
During one of the recent monitoring visits done by PLA team, Betty was found busy and happy at her work place and extended her sincere thanks to PLA - (I thank PLA for with drawing me from Child domestic work, from the skills that I gained, I am now employed and in position to cater for my living materials like pads, cosmetics and clothing's.) Currently Betty is faced with the challenge of the saloon where she is employed not being so busy , and if a day goes by without her attending to a customer then she will not get paid since she is paid on Commission, which is calculated per customer worked on. Betty is looking for a better job that can pay her better so that she can be able to help out her siblings in the village as well. The one dollar she earns helps her in catering for her living materials as a young girl like buying pads, cosmetics and clothing's which she was not able to do before acquiring the hair dressing skills.
In this quarter, the “Educate 200 War and HIV/AIDS Orphaned Ugandan Girls” Project provided scholastic materials and counseling and monitored the homes and schools of 37 female children adversely affected by the LRA war and HIV/AIDS. The beneficiaries, thirty-two of whom were newly enrolled, were supported with daily school lunches worth USD200. They were also received scholatic materials Worth USD 225, which included 88 counter books, 32 dozen books, 4 boxes of pens, 32 rulers, 30 erasers, 32 mathematical sets, 20 boxes of pencils and 4 dozen graph books.
PLA staff also visited the homes of four (4)girls, Apio Holga, Awor Faith, Ateng Rebecca and Atai Sandra, and made fifteen school-monitoring visits to Lira Modern Primary School, Sir Samuel Nursery and Primary school, Lira Parent’s Primary School, Railways Primary School, V.H. Public School, Lango Quran Primary school, Elia Olet primary school, Lira Police Primary School, Savior Secondary school, Ojwina Primary school, Adyel Primary School, Starch Factory Primary School and Ambalal primary school. The visits were made to monitor the beneficiaries’ academic progress, interact with their teachers and encourage participation in extracurricular activities at school, such as debates, wildlife club activities and different sports.
PLA staff spoke with and counseled the thirty-seven (37) beneficiaries. In turn, the girls shared their future dreams and discussed the importance of education, public etiquette, personal hygiene and sanitation. During these counseling sessions, the girls were assisted in processing their traumatic pasts and encouraged to focus on the bright future that lies ahead should they work hard to obtain their goals.
On 25th August 2012, the beneficaries had a play day at Lira Golf Course. They played a number of games that ranged from netball, football, hide-and-seek, and volleyball, among others. At the end of each game, the beneficiaries took a rest and chatted with the PLA Program Assistant Lira about school, friends, guardians and general respect for one another.
STORIES OF BENEFICIARIES
EGWEL LYDIA’S STORY
Lydia is a thirteen-year-old orphan girl currently in the care of her aunt Jane Olwach. In the past, Lydia’s uncle had not been in support of her education, leading to local leaders and her aunt intervening on her behalf.
“I love being in school,” Lydia confided, “and I used to escape to attend lessons without my uncle knowing. When he got to know I was in school, he sent me to go back to the village in Aboke. It’s when my aunty heard about the organization that she came and picked me to live with her while I continue going to school with the support PLA.”
ACENG DORCUS’S STORY
Fourteen-year-old Dorcus’s dream is to become a nurse; she says that when you lose a person to a disease, it makes you want to do something about it so that you don’t lose another. “I lost my mother because she failed to be guided to go to the hospital, that’s why I want to become a nurse, to help the sick,” explained Dorcus.
“I am happy and thankful that PLA choose me among the many other girls. With my aunt’s kind of business, I was rarely in school because I didn’t have the school requirements or money to pay at school; it made it hard to study and perform well. I pray that God blesses the hand that gives me the support,” said Dorcus.
AWOR ASHA’S STORY
Thirteen-year-old Asha is in primary six at Lira police primary school—a school not so far from her home. She lost her only remaining parent in 2010 to HIV/AIDS and is now under the care of her maternal uncle, Rashid Ebong.
Asha became a beneficiary this year and she smiles on her way to school. “I love studying and learning new things, that’s why I like being in school,” narrated Asha.
“My dream is to become a doctor, I want to reduce on the number of people who die, like my uncle who may die soon because he is infected with AIDS,” she said. “I am very happy with what PLA has done for me, I had no hope of permanetly staying and eating in school, but now things are okay. I thank PLA for helping me.”
Platform for Labour Action through the Global Giving donors has impacted on many youths’ lives in Uganda particularly in Kampala. PLA identified 99 (68 girls and 31 boys) CDWs in 2011 from Nsambya police barracks, Kabalagala, Katwe and Kibuye. Who were withdrawn, rehabilitated and placed at Nile Vocation Institute to take on six months courses in hair dressing, motor vehicle, catering and tailoring. During their stay at the institution, monitoring visits were carried out to check on their progress and provide psycho social counseling as well as deliver requirements like soap, shoes, clothes, mosquito nets, sanitary towels, bed sheets, and blankets among others.
PLA through her partnerships with SCD Darling, a cosmetics company, visited PLA beneficiaries at NVI taking hair dressing and taught them how to make different hair styles, hair maintenance, colour selection, saloon maintenance and customer care. The company also provided aprons and posters showing different hair styles and t-shirts to the said beneficiaries. .
After six months, the beneficiaries graduated and were resettled with their guardians. They are now involved in meaningful employment in saloons and garages. During follow-ups made, they were happy to be involved in work that does not exploit them.