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Brighter Futures for 65,000 Ugandan Girls

by Act4Africa
Brighter Futures for 65,000 Ugandan Girls
Brighter Futures for 65,000 Ugandan Girls
Brighter Futures for 65,000 Ugandan Girls
Brighter Futures for 65,000 Ugandan Girls
Brighter Futures for 65,000 Ugandan Girls
Brighter Futures for 65,000 Ugandan Girls
Brighter Futures for 65,000 Ugandan Girls
Brighter Futures for 65,000 Ugandan Girls
Brighter Futures for 65,000 Ugandan Girls
Brighter Futures for 65,000 Ugandan Girls
Brighter Futures for 65,000 Ugandan Girls
Brighter Futures for 65,000 Ugandan Girls
Brighter Futures for 65,000 Ugandan Girls
Brighter Futures for 65,000 Ugandan Girls
Brighter Futures for 65,000 Ugandan Girls
Brighter Futures for 65,000 Ugandan Girls
Brighter Futures for 65,000 Ugandan Girls
Brighter Futures for 65,000 Ugandan Girls
Women
Women's group excitement upon receiving their goat

“Not long ago, the only activity that brought us together as women was to discuss our marital problems and challenges; we found solace from one another, given that we were all going through the same experiences and facing similar problems. We still benefit from this collective support, but we have attained so much more since engaging with Act4Africa. I am particularly grateful for the efforts that have been driven towards making us the people we are to today.” 

These were part of the opening remarks from Catherine, the chairperson of Sekadhikuwe women’s group in Mayuge during Act4Africa’s latest visit. The name of the group ‘Sekadhikuwe’ is derived from an adage in the local dialect to mean: ‘’You may laugh and mock at small beginnings, but I eventually succeed’’.

Indeed, since forming an Act4Africa Health, Empowerment and Livelihoods (HEAL) group, much has been achieved by the Sekadhikuwe women. Catherine says, “Before Act4Africa training, we had no idea about saving money. We were also very naïve about starting up enterprises. Today, we are proud owners of many small enterprises that are greatly transforming our economic status.”

On Act4Africa's last visit, in March, we were delighted to reward the women’s efforts with the gift of a hybrid goat, reared by Act4Africa Uganda on our own farm at Kathy’s Centre. The women received animal husbandry training and will have ongoing access to our goat breeding programme. 

“We hope that from this goat we will have more goats that we plan to sell to increase our group’s income.  This will allow us to venture into other income generating enterprises, like hire of tents chairs and tables for events. We are really grateful for this gift, the health education and knowledge, financial literacy skills, for through all these, we have emerged out to what we are.”

With a regular donation of £11 a month you can help us sustain our herd of goats at Kathy’s Centre, helping us provide goats to support HEAL groups throughout Mayuge district.

Act4Africa
Act4Africa's Goats for Girls programme
Kathy
Kathy's Centre goat farm

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Fedelis (16) is one of 65,000 Ugandan girls whom Act4Africa aims to provide with a brighter future through Global Giving.  These are her words.

"I count myself privileged and lucky to be in school, as otherwise, I would have already been married off at an early age. I live near a fishing community where fishing is the source of livelihood for nearly every family, and early marriages are such a common norm.

"Coming from a large family of seven and being the eldest girl, much as my father cited financial reasons for my being out of school, girls are rarely a priority in most families for educational opportunities. 

"As I reached my teenage years, the temptations of being lured into early marriage were high due to forces in the environment surrounding my community. Besides having been married off at an early age, perhaps I would have been infected with HIV as, there are very high rates of HIV infection around the itinerant fishing community.

"The stigma and ridicule from my fellow peers of the fact that I was not in school and the many advances from the fishermen tempted me to leave my community against my wish and plan.  Then one day, Act4Africa came to my village and mobilized a group of girls and young women to form a savings and enterprise group.  As a group we set up a pig farm and began saving money into a joint bank account, arranged with help from Act4Africa.

"Over the next couple of years I became an active member of the group and was proud to become Act4Africa’s youngest Community Mentor.  I am very fortunate that Act4Africa recognized my potential to become a young leader and I am so grateful to have been chosen to join Act4Africa’s Grow A Girl programme.  Thanks to overseas sponsors I am now privileged to be in school.  This is a life changing experience that is driving my future aspirations.  I now hope to become a nurse.  

"None of this would have happened if it weren’t for supporters of Act4Africa through Global Giving.  Your  donations help support the talented and supportive Ugandan team of mentors, trainers and advisors, for whose efforts I am truly grateful – with your support, Act4Africa has made me the person I am today.

"My heartfelt thanks to you!"

Links:

Gloria at Mbarara Institute of Social Development
Gloria at Mbarara Institute of Social Development

This month we bring Gloria (20), a young mother of 1 child and a student at Mbarara Institute of Social Development Kasese, living a single life with her parents.

Gloria dropped out of school at the age of 17years when she had sat for her Senior 4 exams. She says,

"Just like any other girl in a candidate class, I was excited to finish my exams.  From peer influence and lack of knowledge about sexual reproductive health, I was convinced by friends that at S4 it was not proper for any candidate to finish without saying ‘a good farewell’ to the school since there is always likelihood of change of school at that level.  I was completely taken in by my friends’ pressure and we started escaping from school with boys, going to bars and night clubs as a way of celebrating our school life and saying bye-bye to each other.  

"I ended up engaging in unprotected sex with a boy under the influence of alcohol.  It resulted into pregnancy and when I came home from school after exams and told my parents, they immediately chased me from home to go and stay with the boy who was also struggling in S4 vacation.  This left me with no choice other than to run to my aunt’s home where I stayed till last year with my child.  It was a life of no hope for me and my child at my aunt’s place, who is a low paid primary school teacher. 

"One day I was mobilized, with other girls, to be trained and given knowledge and skills by Act4Africa under the adolescent young mothers program.  It changed my life completely, after learning that there is hope and life for young mothers, even when stigmatised by the community.  Through counselling from Act4Africa, I gained my own esteem and became assertive in many of my life decisions. 

"I called my parents after one of the trainings, asking for forgiveness and requesting them to accept me back home and take me back to school again. It surprised my parents when I mentioned joining school again.  My father made a visit to me and, after some time, brought me back home with my child.  After returning home, I continued to convince my parents that I was a changed girl with good behaviours.  I was always supportive in domestic work at home, and with time my parents accepted my request of joining school. 

"In August 2018, I joined Mbarara Institute of Social Development, Kasese, pursuing a certificate in Library and Information Science. I am now an empowered, happy, single young mother and the advocate of young women’s rights in my school and village.  I am member of an Act4Africa young mothers saving group and never miss community social trainings or workshops at school for sexual reproductive health education."

Gloria gives a big thanks to Act4Africa and GlobalGiving partners for remembering neglected young mothers and bringing hope to them. Her wish is to finish her school and upgrade up to a degree level and here she requested for continued support by Act4Africa with health knowledge and if possible she requests for financial assistance to have her education dream fulfilled.

Donate to our Brighter Futures for 65,000 girls project today, by clicking the GIVE NOW button below, and support Gloria and other girls like her.

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Annet and her 2 year old child
Annet and her 2 year old child

Annet, a young mother aged 17years, lost her father when she was 12years old. Her peasant mother brought her up alone with her 3 younger brothers. Annet tells us,

I dropped out of school at the age of 14 to help my mother to grow food for us to eat and care for my 3 brothers.”

Annet’s mother could not afford her school fees and she missed school most days, which affected her performance in class. Annet recalls the moment she was at school and her menstrual periods came,

“I had no sanitary pads to help me and was so embarrassed before my fellows with lots of blood spots on my uniform.  Such embarrassments were one of the factors that forced me to drop out school before completing my primary level education.”

Life at home was hard for Annet and she felt fortunate to get a job as a house maid where she worked for a year before her male boss fell in love with her secretly and forced her into sex which resulted in her becoming pregant.

“The man didn’t accept responsibility but chased me out immediately I told him that I was pregnant. Helpless, I returned to my mother’s home with the pregnancy and gave birth to a child of 2 years now.”

Last year Annet, together with her friends, were mobilized and selected to be trained and empowered with knowledge and skills under the Act4Africa program for Adolescent Mothers. Annet tells us of the success this brought her.

“As part of a Saving Group, I have been adding  the little money I get from providing labour in people's fields and the sale of small bags and necklaces made from beads. In April I was able to get a loan of 100,000 shillings (about £20) which I used to rent a small plot of land and my mother gave me seeds to grow. I worked entirely alone in my garden and, the season being good, I managed to harvest one sack of beans and six sacks of ground nuts. These have brought me an income of around 800,000 shillings (£160) and I have paid back my loan and started to save again.”

With smiles on her face, Annet told us,

“I am using some of the money to start my own food vending enterprise next month; I hope that the business will change my miserable life. Although I will be busy working entirely alone, I hope that, if all goes well, small basic needs at home will never be a problem again and I will be able to look after my child more easily.”

Annet is so grateful for the Global Giving program that has greatly changed her life, she praises Act4Africa for having socially and economically empowered her. In her life she never thought anyone would help her because even her friends and relatives thought she was a prostitute. “My Savings Group was so supportive and helped me challenge the stigma I felt at first. The beadmaking skills and knowledge of enterprise I gained helped me a lot, also the knowledge in sexual reproductive health.

"I have opened my mind in a way that I can now take rational decisions in an assertive way. I hope never to be a victim of sexual harassment again.”

Anne,t just like any other beneficiary with a positive change in her life, thanked Act4Africa for the program that has changed lives of many in her group and community at large and requested for continued support for other hopeless young mothers.

Your donation will help Act4Africa reach more vulnerable adolescent mothers like Annet and help provide continued support to existing Savings Groups through workshops, training and support in opening group bank accounts.

                                       GLOBAL GIVING BONUS DAY!

Make a donation on Wednesday 18th July (from 2pm [BST] onwards) and Act4Africa will receive 50% match funding on your donation (whilst Bonus Funds allow)!

Don’t delay - set your reminder now!

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Moreen (20) and her 5 year old daughter Joylin
Moreen (20) and her 5 year old daughter Joylin

“Thank you for giving young mothers a chance to live life just like others.” says Moreen, aged 20.

Moreen is a primary beneficiary of our adolescent mothers project in Kasese, Western Uganda.  Over the last 3months we have been assessing the project's impact on primary beneficiaries, mostly in their communities and sometimes at school, to those who have been encouraged to join school again, after dropping out some time back.

Generally, there has been a big, positive change in their lives, both socially and economically. Their social status has improved through their own high self-esteem and a reduction in stigma. Membership of saving groups and active engagement in their own businesses has led to financial independence which has greatly changed the attitudes of young mothers themselves and other people towards them.

In our case study this month, we bring Moreen, a young mother from Munkunyu Sub County. Moreen, aged 20 years is a school dropout and a mother of one child.  She is a victim of gender inequality and domestic violence right back from her early years at her parent’s home. Moreen dropped out of school in the second year of senior school, after her mother divorced due to the polygamous and alcoholic behaviour of her father. 

Moreen tells us, “My stepmother kept me at home to do housework and babysitting the young children. This kept me busy most of school days and I missed a lot in class.  This led to poor performance and my father stop paying my fees.  Life became completely difficult when my father lost his job and the family depended on the small business run by the stepmother.  This gave her all powers to do anything against my education.”

As a result Moreen was denied most essential needs, something that made her look at men as a good alternative to get what she missed at home, though she regrets that it was short lived and temporary, saying “I wish I had known.”  Moreen became pregnant at an early age of 15 years.  With a child of 5 years now, she lives a single life with her mother, after she was chased out of her father’s home when she became pregnant.

Moreen told us that, “Life has slowly changed and the future seems to be bright,” adding that Hope came as a result of the trainings and knowledge I got from the workshops organised by Act4Africa and being encouraged to join the saving groups.” She told us that “Even my mother was a beneficiary in the wider community program.”  Moreen has teamed up with her mother and, through small loans acquired from their Act4Africa saving group, runs a small business selling fruit (pineapples, oranges and mangoes) alongside the Uganda-Congo highway in the trading centre of her village. She said “The business is doing well because we are able to get essential needs at home and also we can access small loans to cater for emergencies which was not the case before.”

With the knowledge acquired through actively participating in the training, Moreen says she has been empowered and is now saving little money from the business with a plan of joining school again. After senior school she hopes to join a vocational course like tailoring or hairdressing, such that she can fully support her family. Moreen also hopes to further train in beading, so she can make small bags for sale to boast her income.

Moreen concluded, “The project has greatly changed my life.  It is bringing me hope as a young mother. Thank you for giving young mothers chance to live life just like others.”

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Organization Information

Act4Africa

Location: Cheshire - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Martin Smedley
Manchester, United Kingdom
$16,895 raised of $25,000 goal
 
286 donations
$8,105 to go
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