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Brighter Futures for 65,000 Ugandan Girls

by Act4Africa Vetted since 2010 Top Ranked Effective Nonprofit Site Visit Verified
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
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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Abius and her child
Abius and her child

This month I bring you the story of Abius, aged 18: a young, single mother of one who has joined the Act4Africa adolescent mothers’ program in Kasese.

Abius tells us, “I dropped out of school aged 13 years. I was a victim of domestic violence that led to my parents’ divorce. I was brought up by my stepmother in a very harsh way and forced to leave school. I lacked essential basic needs, such as sanitary towels, and had no way out, other than being sexually active with boys who would promise me a better life - though this added more problems into my life.”

Abius got pregnant and gave birth at the age of 16years.  The father denied responsibility and her parents sent her out of their home. Life was miserable for Abius, who moved to stay with her peasant grandmother and brought her child into a harsh financial situation.

Abius today says, “I am not the same girl of that time because of the training by Act4Africa. I am now empowered and have gained hope and self-esteem. My early suffering was due to lack of knowledge and poverty. I am now an active member of Kirembe adolescent mothers’ saving group, where I save the little money I get from laboring in people’s gardens. I am hoping to get a loan from the savings group in March and start up my own business in the market.” Abius says “The financial knowledge I have gained has been a great turning point in my life because it has empowered me economically and given me a position in my community.”

Abius adds, “The sexual/reproductive health education answered many unanswered questions for me regarding my social life.  I will never get unwanted pregnancy again because I feel able to negotiate condom use.”

My last report on the Adolescent Mothers project, brought you the story of Lorene, who, last October took a loan from her savings group and started a food vending business. She has already managed to pay off the loan with a small interest.  At Christmas she managed to buy herself and her child clothes from her savings and she is now able to get a few necessities at home, something that was impossible before joining the group. Lorene plans to continue saving in the group and to get another loan in February to expand the business during the cotton harvesting season. 

Since my last report, follow up visits have been made across all sub-counties of operations. We have found that members are organised well in their groups, with an aim to save and get small loans for business start-up, share health knowledge and practice kitchen gardening to improve livelihoods and the nutrition of their families.

Thanks to the support of GlobalGiving and donations received there are now 8 active saving groups of young mothers and female community members, across 3 sub-counties of Kasese district.  For Abius, Lorene and many other young women, “Life has really changed.”

Please help us continue our progress with these young women and change more lives by setting up a recurring monthly donation to A Brighter Future for 65,000 girls through GlobalGiving.

Loren and her customers
Loren and her customers

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Meet Lorene
Meet Lorene

Meet Lorene

Lorene left school at the age of 13 and she is now a 17 year old married mother of one child.

Lorene's husband is a Boda Boda rider (giving lifts on a motorbike for money) but his income provides less than half of the family's basic needs.

Lorene said, "I joined an Act4Africa savings group of 20 young mothers and as a result of the financial knowledge I received I started to think about savings and how to start a business. I shared ideas with the group and my mother-in-law and she helped me to save small amounts of money. I managed to get a loan of 85,000 Ugandan Shillings (~£18) from the savings group and used that to start a small food vending business, cooking and selling hot food. The business is doing well and I am working hard to pay back the loan with some of the money I am making.

My husband's attitude towards me has changed since I started my business and our family is now a peaceful one. My husband used to be unkind towards me because I had to depend on him for everything, and this made me unhappy. At one stage I wanted a divorce because I was embarrased in front of my in-laws and neighbours, but now I think I have the beginning of happiness in my marriage.

Since I started the business we now have food at home all the time and I can pay for some small things without having to wait for my husband any more. We hope that the business will continue to grow to enable us to buy our own motorcycle for my husband to ride in future.

I wish Act4Africa and money from GlobalGiving could be used to reach more vulnerable mothers so they can change their lives socially and economically. It has greatly changed my life and I now live happily".

Meet Moreen

Moreen left school at the age of 15 and when she was 16 she became pregnant. The father of the child refused to marry or take care of her however, and she had to continue living with her peasant family.

Moreen said, "Life has been miserable and extremely hard since I have been entirely dependent on my parents for my survival and that of my child, yet my parents can hardly meet the basic needs at home.

I joined other young mothers for the Act4Africa training and felt empowered by the knowledge of sexual and reproductive health as well as financial literacy. I am now part of a small village savings group with 15 members which meets once a week.

The financial literacy knowledge greatly empowered me since it taught me that even poor people can save something small which accumulates over time. Most of my savings, to begin with, were from casual labour offered in people's gardens, weeding crops and cultivating land. By doing this I managed to save a reasonable amount that enabled me to get a small loan from the savings group.

After getting a loan of 50,000 Ugandan Shillings (~£11)I was able to set up a small business selling eatables at the roadside under tree shade. The business idea was from the finance training and sharing ideas with friends in the savings groups. Business is picking up and I am able to save most days and pay back part of the loan each time the group meets.

My life will change in time since I hope to keep saving and to get another loan to expand my business so I can support my parents and child.

I thank Act4Africa and GlobalGiving for the program that is empowering young mothers and the work should not stop, so that life will continue to be bright". 

Lorene has set up a food vending business
Lorene has set up a food vending business
Meet Moreen
Meet Moreen
Moreen has set up a fruit and vegetable stall
Moreen has set up a fruit and vegetable stall
 

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Organization Information

Act4Africa

Location: Cheshire - United Kingdom
Website: http:/​/​www.act4africa.org/​
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Martin Smedley
Manchester, United Kingdom
$16,504 raised of $25,000 goal
 
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$8,496 to go
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