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Ugandan GIRLS THRIVE & create their own future

by Act4Africa
Ugandan GIRLS THRIVE & create their own future
Ugandan GIRLS THRIVE & create their own future
Ugandan GIRLS THRIVE & create their own future
Ugandan GIRLS THRIVE & create their own future
Ugandan GIRLS THRIVE & create their own future
Ugandan GIRLS THRIVE & create their own future
Ugandan GIRLS THRIVE & create their own future
Ugandan GIRLS THRIVE & create their own future
Ugandan GIRLS THRIVE & create their own future
Ugandan GIRLS THRIVE & create their own future
Ugandan GIRLS THRIVE & create their own future
Ugandan GIRLS THRIVE & create their own future
Ugandan GIRLS THRIVE & create their own future
Ugandan GIRLS THRIVE & create their own future
Ugandan GIRLS THRIVE & create their own future
Ugandan GIRLS THRIVE & create their own future
Ugandan GIRLS THRIVE & create their own future
Ugandan GIRLS THRIVE & create their own future
Ugandan GIRLS THRIVE & create their own future
Ugandan GIRLS THRIVE & create their own future
Ugandan GIRLS THRIVE & create their own future
Ugandan GIRLS THRIVE & create their own future
Ugandan GIRLS THRIVE & create their own future
Ugandan GIRLS THRIVE & create their own future
Ugandan GIRLS THRIVE & create their own future
Ugandan GIRLS THRIVE & create their own future
Ugandan GIRLS THRIVE & create their own future
Ugandan GIRLS THRIVE & create their own future
Viola making a cooking stove to sell
Viola making a cooking stove to sell

Voila is among the young girls who have, through the course of time, benefited from Act4Africa weekly Health, Education and Livelihood sessions.

In her words Viola says: “I cannot be more thankful to Act4Africa, for the industrious/entrepreneurial skills that are helping me navigate life through these tough and turbulent times.

“It is almost equated to a taboo in my community, being at my age with a child and I happen not be married as yet. It is my decision however, to aspire for a better and good future.”

These were some of the statements made by Viola, during our short visit to her home to get to know of how she has been managing to cope with life, ever since government announced the lock down.   

“With the many challenges notwithstanding, this season has kept my mind so focused and innovative in creating and finding opportunities that can earn me and my relatives a livelihood, owing to the entrepreneurial skills that I attained from Act4Africa.

“On top of selling the vegetables from my backyard garden and tailoring, I have also learnt how make clay stoves that I plan to sell during and after this lock-down season.”

Such is the story of Viola a young and determined girl on the quest to achieve her aspirations.

Thanks to your support, we are delighted that our Ugandan Girls Thrive project has gained a prized place on the GlobalGiving 2020 Girl Fund. With this regular funding from GlobalGiving throughout 2020, we will be able to continue supporting girls like Viola. With your support, they will not only survive this challenging time, they will reach for their goals as well!  

A completed stove being used in Viola's home
A completed stove being used in Viola's home

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Yolesi with the liquid soap she produces.
Yolesi with the liquid soap she produces.

Yolesi (25) from Kasese District, Western Uganda, is one of our many young women who have been positively transformed both socially and economically through trainings under our project 'Ugandan Girls Thrive'. She tells us how she now enjoys an independent lifestyle without looking to men as a source of income.

“I dropped out of school due to lack of fees after the death of my father who was solely responsible for paying my school dues from a small business of shop keeping in our village.”

Yolese, a once miserable young girl, started seeing light for an improved lifestyle after attending Act4Africa workshops and life skills programs.

“I was empowered and equipped with skills of beading and later liquid soap making in my group which has transformed my life as a young woman.”

Yolesi told us, “After stopping schooling, I sat at home and would do farm and domestic work with my mother. As a young girl I lacked several things to make me look like other able girls in the village. My mother could not manage to provide for me or my other young siblings at home.

Being home all the time exposed me to many men whom I looked at as an alternative way of getting small money to buy myself basic needs as a girl. This was the only way out for my situation. I did all this in ‘total darkness’ because I never thought of the consequences of having multiple men, I never thought of HIV/AIDS, pregnancy and other STDs because I was not aware. I was so exposed, every day I placed my life to risk of being infected with HIV or becoming pregnant and facing isolation and rejection.”

“The trainings on HIV/AIDS knowledge and other sexual reproductive health information greatly opened my mind as a young girl. The enterprise and financial literacy knowledge encouraged me and others to form a small village savings group. With some of the savings, we hired a local entrepreneur to train us on how to make liquid soap. This later became the turning point in my economic status.”

“I saved my little profit share from the group business and later requested a loan from the same group, which I used to start up my own liquid soap making business with my mother. It is now the base of our financial status at home and my young siblings school fees are paid from the income we earn.”

“My big dream is to produce liquid soap in large quantities and supply schools and markets around my sub-county and beyond. All this would not be possible if Act4Africa had not come, with this life-changing program, to my village. I would be having many children and married by now because of being desperate and having nothing productive to do.”

Yolesi ended her story with heartfelt appreciations: “Thank you to Act4Africa and all those who support them. I wish you come back again to train many more girls such that we can live an empowered and independent life as young girls and not be trapped in poverty by men.”

Thank you for your donations to the 'Ugandan Girls Thrive' project. Please share Yolesi’s story with others.

Act4Africa is competing for a place on the GlobalGiving Girl Fund. Help us make our way up the leader board by donating to this project on or before 13th March. If successful the funds received will allow us to put up to 45 adolescent girls through our comprehensive training programme, empowering and enabling them to take control of their future just like Yolesi.

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Violet in her backyard garden
Violet in her backyard garden

“You cannot change your past but you can influence your future.”

This is the motto that has fueled Violent (18), a beneficiary on Act4Africa’s Adolescent Mothers training program at Kathy's Centre, Eastern Uganda.  This International Women's Day we bring you her story of determination and aspiration.

“Having lost both parents at very a tender age, I felt like the world had closed in on me; with all my hope gone and future seemingly cut.  Indeed their death meant an end to my education while I was just 14 years, as none of my close relatives could carry on paying for my school fees as my parents did.

“My life became so miserable. As is the common norm for most young girls in my community, there was pressure for me to marry, since I had already dropped out of school; something that I almost gave into. However, I saw the troubles and miserable life that teenage girls in my community go through, as a result of being married off at an early age, and this gave me a change of mind.

“My determination in refusing to marry at an early age did no go down well with some of my relatives,  as they felt it was a denied opportunity for them to gain materially from the would be in-laws, as the custom is in our tradition.

“However, living in a community where in every 10 homesteads you find 5 are teenage mothers, I have many teenage mother friends.  They luckily introduced me to the weekly health education, entrepreneurship and skilling program that Act4Africa runs for young adolescent mothers.

“I was excited to be part of this weekly program, as it rekindled my once childhood aspirations, that had faded, of becoming a powerful businesswoman in this community of Mayuge.

“The entrepreneurship skills offered during the weekly session have enabled me set up a backyard vegetable garden and once the vegetables are grown, I will be in position to sell and earn.

“I am surely grateful for this opportunity, that has helped unlock and discover the hidden potential in me.”

Act4Africa is competing for a place on the GlobalGiving Girl Fund. Help us make our way up the leader board by donating to this project on or before 13th March. If successful the funds received will allow us to put upto 45 adolescent mothers through our comprehensive training programme at Kathy's Centre, empowering and enabling them to take control of their future just like Violet.

Violet's vegetable garden
Violet's vegetable garden
Violet tends her garden
Violet tends her garden
Violet makes books to gain an income to invest.
Violet makes books to gain an income to invest.

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Get a match! New recurring donations in December!
Get a match! New recurring donations in December!

Brenda, a resident of a fishing village in Kasese District, Western Uganda, is one of the 65,000 girls Act4Africa aims to reach through our ‘Brighter Futures’ GlobalGiving project. Aged 21 years, she was a victim of peer influence that led her to drop out of school and into sex work, yet now she has seen her future again after the training and workshops by Act4Africa.

Can you help us transform the lives of more girls like Brenda by donating monthly to our project?  If you start a recurring donation this December, your 4th donation will be matched by an anonymous GlobalGiving donor!

Find out how donations to our project have transformed Brenda’s life, in her own words…

“I found myself out of school because it was the order of the day which I adopted too, having seen most of my age mates out of school and working at the lakeshore landing site.  I was attracted to join them as these girls were smart and seemed happy.  I left school and joined some of my friends to do business of selling food stuffs and packaged cold water.  My decision to drop out of school did not get much resistance from my parents since my father is a fisherman and always away from home and my mother a fishmonger who travels to markets to do business. This gave me a lot of time to do all I wanted before my mother returned home late in the evenings. I dropped out of school during my second year at secondary level though I regret a lot this decision of leaving school because life has not been easy as I expected.

“My parents stopped supporting me because of my dropping out of school.  I struggled for basic needs, especially clothing and sanitary pads and sometimes medication, this forced me to start looking up at men for extra money since business was becoming more difficult for us, our acts made people look at us as prostitutes in my own village which brought shame to me and my family, as a result my father chased me from home and I started renting with one of my friends which made us do whatever we wanted because we were so independent. Life seemed to be well at first but things turned when all people regarded us as spoilt community members, we were denied to freely interact with our friends and even our own sisters and brothers would look at us in a different way. No man admired to marry me because of my past history and I became isolated.

“However, ever since I started attending the trainings which was brought to our community by Act4Africa. A VHT trained by Act4Africa mobilized us and assured us to benefit from the program.  Though my first expectation was money not knowledge, today I boost with pride to have been socially and economically changed by these trainings, my attitude towards my own life has completely changed and this has given me a new direction that has brought hope to my heart. 

“I realized how I was lost and left alone in the world and how I needed to change because the training exposed all I did before as risky to my own life and wellbeing. I never knew all about condoms, I entirely depended on oral pills to avoid pregnancy, I never thought of HIV, but the health education, enterprise skills and sexual reproductive health education completely put me in a position to take up a rightful decision for my life.

“The knowledge came at the right time in my life and my life completely changed, and as a result my father allowed me back home with the help of the Act4Africa community trainer and our local leader. My father then enrolled me to a local Talent and Skills Development Centre to learn Tailoring and Designing Skills course for 9 months which I completed last June and now I am self-employed.  Sometimes I am able to support my parents at home with small basics like food stuff and also my entire wellbeing is supported by the income I earn, am a financially independent lady and I hope, with time, I will buy my own sewing machines for better operations.”

Brenda is now a Community Mentor herself and actively participates in community health trainings and social activities to transform the lives of other young people in her community.  “I am looking forward to changing more lives of my peers in my village.”  She gives big thanks to the GlobalGiving supporters of Act4Africa, its local Community Mentors and partners for enabling this life changing project be implemented in her community.

Are you able to make a monthly donation to our project to help us save more girls like Brenda from a life of sex work, isolation and poverty?  Join our Year End Campaign to change the lives of 65,000 Ugandan girls.  Set up a monthly donation this December and GlobalGiving will match your 4th donation.

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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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Organization Information

Act4Africa

Location: Altrincham, Cheshire - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @ACT4AFRICA
Project Leader:
Sarah Istephan
Manchester, United Kingdom
$20,104 raised of $25,000 goal
 
470 donations
$4,896 to go
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