Nayiga is 18 years old. She was identified during the mapping exercise by PLA of children engaged in child labour specifically Domestic work. She was working as a waitress in her aunt’s restaurant at Nsambya. Nayiga is an orphan who had dropped out of school before completing her ordinary level due to lack of school fees and this made life difficult. After sitting in her home village for a long time, her aunt asked her to help her with domestic work at home which included washing utensils, clothes and taking care of her children. Since there was no future for nagiya doing domestic chores, her aunt decided to employ her in her restaurant where she would earn UGX 30,000 (Thirty thousand shillings) per month. However, the money could not cater for all her basic needs nor take her back to school.
She was then rescued, counseled and enrolled at Kyebando Vocational Training Center for a six months catering course which was her passion. Due to the passion she had, her class teacher would sometimes assign her tasks to train her fellow classmates. During her leisure time, she could bake cakes for her classmates and friends on their birthday and graduation parties and this would earn her UGX 30,000 per cake. After her graduation, she got market for cakes and started baking and selling cakes for her neighbours which earn her around 20,000 – 30,000 per cake depending on the size. However, this came to a standstill because she did not have an oven and only had one charcoal stove that could sometimes burn the cakes hence reducing on the demand of cakes from customers.
Although the customers are few, she still bakes cakes on order and small scale. She is now a waitress in a good and decent restaurant called Fahulain Natete town a Kampala suburb. She cooks food for lunch and supper and earns UGX 120,000 (One hundred and twenty thousand shillings) per monthly paid on a weekly installment of 30,000/=per week where she saves UGX 10,000 (Ten thousand shillings) a week to buy an oven and start a confectionary. She thanks PLA for taking her back to school because she is now empowered and can earn a living from the skills learnt at the institute.
Platform for Labour action with support from Global Giving is currently supporting 46 girls with school lunch, scholastic materials and physiological support in all aspects of their lives and are at school. The girls go to government owed schools of Lira primary school, Lira Modern primary school, Lira police primary school, Lango Quran primary school, Railways primary school, Adyel primary school, Eliaoulet Primary School,Otim Tom Primary School, V.H primary School ,Ojwina primary school, and Ireda primary School . “Educate 200 War and HIV/AIDS Orphaned Ugandan Girls” is a project that has given hope and a better future through education to more than 200 beneficiaries in northern Uganda, despite the hardships endured due to the absence of their biological parents who they lost either to HIV/AIDS or the 21 years long LRA rebel war. The girls have continued to show committed and love for education to attain a better future especially through the support in education and counseling that they are rendered throughout the project. Below is a detailed account of these project activities carried out in the months January, February and March 2016. LUNCH PAYMENT This quarter, lunch fees payment of UGX 2,696,500 (Two million six hundred ninety six and five hundred shillings) was made to the different schools that PLA beneficiaries attend. The payment was made to enable the beneficiaries have lunch at the different schools they go to. Because of this the beneficiaries have concentrated more in their school and are not worried about hunger due to lack offood, reports from the various schools show that the beneficiaries are attending classes on a regular basis. This will enable them realize their right to education. SCHOOL MONITORING VISITS 10 school monitoring visits were made this quarter to different schools that were inclusive of Lira Primary School, Lira Modern Primary School, Lira Police Primary School, Lango Quran Primary School, Railways Primary School, Adyel Primary School, Eliaoulet Primary School, Otim Tom Primary School, V.H Primary School, Ojwina primary school, and Ireda Primary School. The visits were made on a basis where at least the children are met three (3) times in a week to encourage the beneficiaries and monitor their progress in class performance. The visits also involved one on one meeting with the teachers like Head Master and class teacher concerning the children’s welfare and the teachers were requested and trained to support and guide the children majority of whom are girls while at school. The teachers reported that the children are reading harder because the term was for a short period due to the presidential elections in the country that saw schools opening latter than usual The beneficiaries were encouraged to study and work hard and to always do their best to become better people and achieve their dreams. During the discussion with the teachers, it was also realized that some girls come late to class and when they speak to them they end up in tears. This called for more counseling to the beneficiaries and asking them to open up and speak to their teachers in case of help and support.The teachers were also encouraged to make the schools more children friendly though enabling child protection mechanisms and supporting children to remain in schools through using Film, dance and drama and mainstreaming children`s rights in all their programs. COUNSELING 30 PLA beneficiaries were counseled during the reporting period. They were offered psychosocial support through school and home monitoring visits. During the different sessions, both during school and home monitoring visits, PLA has encouraged the girls to share their life experience and seek help whenever they are faced with problems. The parents and guardians were spoken too and encouraged to always support the children under their care despite having limited resources. They were cautioned about engaging children into child labour and making the children miss out on school on the large part of the term. The PLA administrator lira who himself was a former child soldier and having lived in camps and having lost both his parents due the war in the Northern part of Uganda, shared his person life experiences with the girls which encouraged them to also work hard so they can get out of their current situations in future. They children were encouraged and pledged to invest their time in education for a better future. HOMES MONITORING VISITS 3 home visits were made to Akello, Adongo and Obii and it was realized that the welfare of some girls had improved though Akello was still made to work overtime by her guardians. During the home visits, all girls shared that they were engaged in activities like helping their guardians in the gardens and in doing house chores. Beneficiaries Story- Akkelo`s story During the home visit, it was discovered that one of the beneficiaries Akello was having problems with her guardian who required her to work in the garden before going to school has caused her a lot problems and made her performance poor in class. She reported that before going to class, she first has to go to the garden and later to school at around 10:00am which is very late hence missing the first lessons. She added that she did not get time to revise her books or even copy notes for the lessons missed because after school she has to sell alcohol for her step mother. During the interactions with her aunt, she was unrepentant and promise to punish her for reporting by making her to plant all the cassava stems very early in the morning before going to school. She was counseled and cautioned. She was taught about good principles of child protection and she promised change During the second home monitoring visit, Okello`s living conditions had improved with the aunt having stopped to involve her in digging during the week and she reported that she no longer sells alcohol She only digs during weekends and on a small piece of land as compared to before. She was very happy for the intervention and promised to now concentrate on her school and PLANNED ACTIVITIES FOR NEXT QUARTER • Monitor progress and performance of the beneficiaries through conducting school and home visits • Offer physiological support and counseling • Provide scholastic materials. • Provide school lunch. CONCLUSION Despite the trying lives these girls endour they have continued to thrive under their school environment and many are among the best students in their respective schools due to the meals and materials provided. The guardians reported a relief and gratitude to the donors for enabling them get hope for these poor children. The girls reported that without education those around 13 years of age would have been forced into early marriages. .
Akech is a 13 year old girl who goes to Ireda Primary School and is currently in Primary Six.She was orphaned in 2010 when her father Opio died and her mother Ajok followed a suit in 2011 due to HIV/AIDS. Unfortunately Akech herself was born infected by HIV/AIDS. Her father had two wives and when her mother died in 2011 leaving her and her elder brother Andrew living with their stepmother who also have three other children of her own all young than Aketh. She loves school and the learning and studying it accords her. Her best subject is Science out of all the four subjects the she takes including Math, Science, Social Studies and Religious Education.
At the end of the year 2015 examination she was in the 15th position out of 183 pupils in her class During the first monitoring visit this year, her stepmother was requiring her to first help out in the restaurant which she runs before she can go to school. This was making Akech so tired to concentrate on her studies. She had also developed wounds on some of her body parts which require medical attention. Akech was encouraged and counseled to remain strong and endure as with continued treatment she will be pain free. Examples of many young adults were shared with her and a testimony from a 35 year old man who shared with her his own experience of living with HIV/AIDS since he was born encouraged her and told her that with a balanced diet and good hygiene one can live until old age. This was streaming from the fact that she was so scared that she was to die soon because her stepmother had told her that she will soon die. Alot of counseling is still needed to enable her copy with the situation and also counseling to the step mother to enable her respect Akech and support her development.
She smilingly promised to take better care of herself and to study hard to expect her hard life. ‘Akech remains grateful for the support that comes from the donors and she hopes that they continue to support her till she completes her education. “I want to become a doctor when i grows up so I can treat young children who are like me”. Says Akech