Sharon is 17 years old. She grew up with her grand mother in a family of 5 members in Mubende. The family consisted three granddaughters and two grandsons. She is an orphan and has no siblings. Sharon never had a chance to see her parents. The father died when he had gone fishing and her mother was expecting her. Unfortunately, the mother also died just after giving birth to Sharon.
She also never had a chance to go to school because her grandmother could not afford paying her school fees. She would stay home doing domestic work and tendering to the garden. Her grand mother always encouraged her to work hard by telling her that orphans too can have a bright future even though they have never gone to school. This forced Sharon to work hard and have hope for a bright future.
In April 2011, a friend to her grandmother requested for Sharon to go and work as a domestic worker. It was agreed that she will earn USD 10 per month and the grand mothers accepted. She was taken to Nsambya police Barracks and worked for Kagusa. Sharon used to take care of 8 members (2 adults and 5 children).She used to wake up at 7am to prepare the children for school and after take them to school. She also used to do all the domestic work like mop the house, wash utensils/clothes, cooking and general house duties etc.
Sharon worked for 9 months and was not paid salaries for the 5 months; instead she was battered, abused by the employer and their children.
Sharon knew about PLA when she escaped from home to come and attend the awareness session that was held at Nsambya police barracks. It was after this session that she knew her rights. She then and got the courage to report her case to Child Family and Protection Unit (CFPU) office which was forwarded to PLA office. She was denied the opportunity of being withdrawn from domestic work by her employer yet she was interested.
When the case reached PLA office, Sharon was forcefully withdrawn and kept under the care of one taskforce member until the day of placement. The employer was summoned, and she accepted to sign an agreement that she will pay USD 60 which was later paid.
Sharon enrolled in hair dressing course at Nile Vocational School for six months. She was sponsored by Platform for Labour action. She completed the hair dressing course in March 2013. She is self employed, braids client’s hair and earns around USD 5 to USD 15 a day depending on number of customers. She braids different styles in twist, pencil, wigs etc. Because of her skills; she is some times called by clients at their homes to braid their hair. She says, `my challenge is lack of money to buy driers and other requirements. These need retouch and treatment of hair for her to earn more money a day’.
Sharon thanked PLA for giving her an opportunity to go to school, withdrawing her from domestic work. Since she was an orphan and had lost hope. She further says that she can now believe her grand mothers words, “even orphans can have a bright future even though they have never gone to school”
There many girls involved in domestic work like Sharon in Kampala. These girls are abused and sometimes go without pay. With the help of well-wishers we will be able to empower more domestic like Sharon.
Rebecca is 17 years old and was identified through the annual door to door mapping of child domestic workers by PLA staff in September 2011 She is the third born in a family of eight., Mr. William and Ms. Akirot, are her parents and farmers staying in Okutu Village in Bukedia district.
Rebecca studied from P.1-P.6 (2001 – 2007) at Okutu Primary school, a government school in Bukedia District. During her second term holiday in primary six, She was picked by her auntie and brought to Kampala in the disguise of offering her better education. This did not happen as she started working as a domestic worker for Mr. Vincent, a police officer in Nsambya barracks.
After the mapping exercise and final verification, Rebecca was one of the children who were placed with Nile Vocational Institute in Jinja District for training. While here, she undertook a course in catering where she had the passion which was coupled with hard work. After her period of training, she was awarded a certificate in catering and she is now gainfully employed at Millennium Hotel in Zana, Kampala district. When our team visited her at the work place, Rebecca was happy to tell us that she earns Uganda Shillings ninety thousand shillings (90,000/=) a month, an equivalent of USD 35 plus accommodation and meals Unlike in child labour where she was not being paid for 4 years. Rebecca is very happy and grateful to Platform for Labour Action as the skills acquired have greatly contributed to her improved quality of life and she hopes for the best in future.
She prays that PLA continues helping children like her.
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.
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.
SCD-Darling Ltd is a company that manufactures Beauty products in Uganda specializing in Hair products. During the January to March 2012 they visited the former child domestic workers in Nile Vocational Institute. During the visit they conducted training on how to use the hair products - hair extensions and a variety of creams and shapoo. They were trained on hair dressing by the Darling hair technicians.
Peter Mukabire, sales executive of SCD-Darling Uganda said, "As a company we have done this to carry out our corporate social responsibility to help improve on the standard of living of children. We do these by taking our hair specialists to train vulnerable girls like the beneficiaries of PLA on how to use our products." This helps them to understand how to use the beauty products for better results on their future clients. In addition to the training the 48 girls were offered aprons by SCD darling. In appreciation of the support, one beneficiary, Atuhairwe Winnie, thanked PLA for the session because it's one way of showing beneficiaries that they care about them. In her remarks she said that, 'I had always heard about Darling company on radio but didn't know that I was using their products, thank you Darling company for teaching us, thank you so much my sponsors may God bless you people'. The aprons donated are worth USD 155.
We are planning to engage more companies like SCD-Darling in Uganda to support our cause. These children have completed their training at the Nile Vocational Institute. We intend to follow them up and see how the skills they have acquired better their lives.
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