Oct 3, 2019

Changing the Lives of Adolescent Mothers

Agnes at her Matoke business in the market
Agnes at her Matoke business in the market

Agnes, a victim of domestic violence resulting from polygamy and alcoholism is one of the young mothers benefiting from the adolescent young mothers Global Giving project in Kasese District, Uganda run by Act4Africa.

Just like other young mothers benefitting from the enterprise and sexual reproductive health program in Kasese district. Agnes narrates her story;

My name is Agnes aged 22 years and a single mother from Kasese District. I became pregnant at the age of 17 years after staying home for a long time without going to school. My father, a police constable with 3 wives and 14 children had failed to raise money for my fees claiming that he could not waste money on a girl who will leave the family for a man soon in the future and I had to stop school. 

I was forced to get married to the man responsible for my pregnancy and I would not resist because it was against our tradition for me to stay in the same house with my parents when I am pregnant.

In marriage life became extremely hard with my husband who was a boda boda rider at the boarder market of Congo Uganda. He was never home early and several times he returned drunk, yet I was expecting to give birth soon.

My life became extremely hard when my husband married a second wife and left me to suffer in a rented room alone which forced me to work in people’s gardens to get food, yet I was heavily pregnant.

I gave birth at a traditional birth attendant’s home and went back to my place together with my husband who stayed home for only a week and disappeared, so I was left completely helpless with my child which forced me to return back home at my parents’ place’.

One day our local council chairperson mobilized us that there was training for young mothers and it was for free. I joined other girls in our village to get trained by Act4Africa at the sub county. From the trainings, we received knowledge on enterprise and financial literacy and in the end,  we organized ourselves.

With the help of the Act4Africa staff we formed a savings group which started with savings from the funds meant to be for our refreshments and later we started offering labor to peoples gardens in a group and we would save some money and take home some for simple basic needs.

Within the saving group I realized there were many girls who had similar challenges like mine and some even more than what I thought of. This greatly encouraged me to stop the stigma on myself and enabled me to easily relate with the of group girls.

I realized from the trainings that women have equal rights with men regardless of our tradition and the knowledge on business and financial literacy greatly empowered me and was the turning point in my livelihood.

The savings group has been expanded and has grown its capital; we all have small businesses that have improved our lives. Now I sell matoke (plantain) in the main market which has assured me of basic needs to me, my child and also helping my mother at home.

This has given me hope that I can live a single life till I make a decision again to get married at the right time of my choice.’

Agnes like many other beneficiaries of this Global Giving project in Kasese has received knowledge and skills which has been a point of change in their lives. They give big thanks to the Act4Africa and Global Giving donors for this wonderful opportunity which has seen them being economically and socially empowered to become recognized community members both in the family and community at large.

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Oct 3, 2019

A passion for athletics, learning and helping others!

This month we bring to you Hatimah Namutamba one of our pioneer pupils at Kathy’s Kindergarten.

Hatimah joined the Kindergarten in 2018 at the age of 3 years, being her first time in school, she had a lot to learn academically and socially which was to be merged and associated to her daily home life. Thanks to your donations and to our committed teachers we have seen such young girls thrive in their early childhood start.

Hatimah is a female Ugandan aged 5 years and in middle class. Her parents who both live in the Mayuge district took the decision to have Hatimah start her early childhood education at Kathy’s Centre after being told by a friend about the exciting and beneficial educational environment set up for children like Hatimah. They have never regretted their decision and her parents said that ‘Hatimah today has developed so much since those first days she reported at school’. (See the picture of Hatimah taking a quick nap on one of her first days)

‘Hatimah shows unique attributes and qualities now from being at Kathy’s Centre and this consequently has shown to transform her character whilst at home too.’

Teacher Jennifer  is so proud of Hatimah and applauds Hatimah’s development noting that, ‘her zeal to learn whilst at school is so encouraging’.

‘She likes using English all the time, which has given her chance to advance her spoken skills and also greatly improve in her class performance.’  

Jennifer further notes that Hatimah is doing so well, ‘her activeness in class has made her an outstanding girl who is kind and thoughtful. She is always up for helping fellow pupils during activities in and out of class time, setting a good example for other pupils.’

Hatimah loves sports and particularly athletics, which she does with passion and for fun! ‘Her determination and enjoyment drive her to put up a good performance and she has always been the best in this area.’

If this talent is developed in the future, we could see a great athlete in Hatimah!’

Middle class teacher Grace said that ‘Hatimah is such a brilliant and intelligent girl, so willing to learn, socializing and helping others’, she added ‘in the sharing skills she tops her fellows’ which she attributed to a good start at home alongside her education.

When reporting back to school for 3rd term, Hatimah’s mother, whilst interacting with the school was full of praises for the work done by the teachers to improve the general lifestyle of her girl.

She reported ‘at home she is so helpful and likes involving in leading prayers and being so close to her elder sister which was not so common before.’

Just like at school Hatimah has surprised her parents and other people at home with the way she has changed in her lifestyle at such an early age.

Enjoying her time in the Role Play area
Enjoying her time in the Role Play area
Sometimes a rest is needed after learning!
Sometimes a rest is needed after learning!

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Jul 8, 2019

Teenage mums learn skills & entrepreneurship

Adolescent mothers receiving practical training
Adolescent mothers receiving practical training

Uganda’s population is both young and rapidly growing.  Almost half the population is under 14 and those aged 15-24 years constitute a further 21%.  The country’s ability to provide for its children lies in the hands of those so young themselves. 

Uganda has one of the largest and highest density young populations in Africa and the world.

With such a background, young people grapple with many challenges ranging from economic to social and psychological. Yet amidst this situation Act4Africa brings relief, encouragement and access to sustainable livelihoods. With your support, as a Ugandan based NGO we are complimenting the government’s efforts towards addressing key social challenges affecting these young people like unemployment and teenage pregnancies. 

With support from Global Giving, we are privileged to run weekly entrepreneurial sessions with adolescent mothers whose dignity and hope for a bright future had otherwise been shattered by their circumstances.  Through the sessions these young women are trained and equipped with vocational and entrepreneurial skills that lead them to self-employment.  They have formed a tight support group that has helped them to break the isolation caused by teenage pregnancy and insecurity. 

“I look forward to being here every Monday afternoon for the sessions,  as they are not only impacting me for a better life, but I also find this a social gathering where we share our experiences, have light moments and feel restored from the shackles of abandonment’’, adds Hajira, a single mother on the program.

Another inspiring young girl is Olivia, who despite being deaf and dumb, has against all odds, attended consistently every week and is extremely keen to pass on her skills to the community irrespective of any given barriers.

In the community of Mayuge District where we run our operations, teenage pregnancy rates are high.  Over 44% of 15-19 year old girls are either pregnant or have already given birth.  Therefore, we feel extremely honored to receive your support, and privileged to be able to put these programmes in place.    

Your donations really help these young mothers take steps to overcome the poverty they face in their lives and to make changes in the community at large.

A donation of £50 a month enables us to provide a one practical workshop each month, complete with materials and practical skills training to produce marketable products such as the counter books pictured here. 

The young mothers socialise as they work
The young mothers socialise as they work

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