Building a school for moms who never could go to school!
Back in 2017, we started our work in the slums of Kampala. And some of our sewing school graduates continue to operate two clothing stores in the city. But now, our focus as an NGO/CBO has shifted to the countryside: in September of 2021, we bought five acres of land near Kapeeka, to build a vocational training center for women in and around this region.
Why move to the countryside?
It's a giant step towards long-term sustainability for our NGO/CBO and will potentially increase our impact many times over: Many poor families have access to farmland, but due to wars and disease, have lost the people to teach them how to use it. Thus, families are left destitute, selling their girls off as brides or sending them away to the cities in search for work. These girls often end up stuck in slums, where they and their children have little hope of escaping the poverty trap. So, if we can educate women in the communites they live in, we can help prevent this cycle from repeating itself.
To teach hundreds of women how to live a sustainable, holistically-minded life in their communities. Be that through a one-day-seminar, the sales from our own educational farm, or longer vocational training internships of around nine months. Because when we see women's lives change, we see communities change: Our women will pass on their knowledge to their kids, friends, and maybe even their fathers and husbands. And when the community sees that empowering women also empowers them, they will go from shaming young moms to partnering with them to impact their world together.
What will the school teach?
So far, we have focused on skills such as sewing and soap making. We will continue to teach these skills but are expanding the curriculum: Now, it will include things like sustainable small-scale agriculture, how to build a house and a compost toilet, creative problem-solving, reading/basic math, cultural knowledge (basic history and art) and business. Why? Because we want to teach skills that will help women to live a decent life on their own land, both physically and mentally. Since most of our students have never gone to school, the curriculum will be hands-on and practical. The curriculum will also aim to improve the capacity for independent problem solving and appreciation for the beauty in themselves and around them. This will boost confidence, help heal trauma, and give these women a means to be proud of the place they live and work.