We continue to provide financial support and guidance for the four departments at RMF’s Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute (PVTI). During this reporting period:
A total number of 79 trainees were enrolled for this 12th intake, and from the observed attendance trend captured through daily roll calls, the current enrollment is 77. This indicates the dropout of two trainees during almost two months of training. It was also observed that this period of training was interrupted by social events within the community, which involved the monthly general food distribution in the settlement.
As Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute (PVTI) opened again for classes, students were involved in maintaining the general cleanliness of the school compound and classrooms. Students are at center stage when it comes to making sure that PVTI stays in good condition and is clean and ready to undertake operations. This is done in line with the management of PVTI and student leadership, and students are well organized to support the cleanliness of the school.
The department is fully equipped with hairdressing equipment, steamers, and all other accessories and materials required to implement the program. Throughout the semester, trainees have been exposed to both theoretical and practical lessons as a basis for their vocational training, and so far, 70% of the modules have been covered. The general attendance of the trainees has been good, with minimal recorded absenteeism during food distribution days (a program held to distribute food in the settlement).
The trainees still carry out their training in the temporary shelter that was constructed with support from JICA. The department has all the required training materials: sand mixed with lime in the mortar, bricks, and tools. The training is composed of theoretical and practical lessons. Currently, the department is handling all the modules that require the construction of different types of walls and bonding. This training exposes students to the construction world, where they will be able to get jobs.
The department currently has a total of 15 trainees. It was an achievement to enroll a female student in the CJ department, which has typically been all-male. As in Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute’s other departments, the CJ department also experienced a setback, as trainees’ numbers reduced from 15 to 12. Our female trainee still remains, however, which shows a lot of resilience and confidence in fighting the forces of culture that could have made her drop out of the course, which many traditionally believe to be only for men.
Training has progressed, and currently the trainees are covering three modules: Safety, Tools, and Equipment; Machine Operations; and Garment Construction. Visible outputs of the trainees include a free wear and elastic pajama shorts, a free wear shirt, and a fish style skirt. The TGC class saw 9 students drop out, most of whom went back to secondary school. However, the Tailoring and Garment Cutting department continues to be one of our most popular courses for both refugees and nationals.
In April 2011, RMF initiated the Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute (PVTI) at the Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement after being presented by the refugee community with issues surrounding the lack of skills and vocational training for students graduating from the settlement high school.
After researching which skills would provide the quickest earning opportunities and the most efficient economic investment requirements for RMF, we narrowed the programs down to:
Esther Aryemo has continued to work with the friends who she started her shop with. She has managed to acquire some money, which she used to start her own shop and pay rent. Although she is like any young entrepreneur with her salon located in Bweyale Trading Center, Esther manages to utilize her shop to provide for her basic needs. Esther says that the work of her hands has made her develop from the level where she started to a place where she can achieve her goals. The skills training project has added value to the lives of people in and around Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement, where people like Esther (a national from Bweyale) can earn a living with the work of their hands.
With her savings from the last few months, Esther has added more materials to her shop. She is currently keeping her head up, so that she can expand her business in the right direction. She sees herself also moving towards retail business, where she can sell items and be able to earn a living.
Agnes Akikoli works with her colleague Mary in her salon in Bweyale. Agnes started with a 70,000/= loan from her uncle, who had supported her through the program. Since she had a few tools to begin with, Agnes’s uncle provided her with some money buy some supplies. Agnes says with her skills, she has never lacked any food or gone hungry. With a small shop in Bweyale, Agnes says that she is optimistic that she can expand with time. She says in spite of a few challenges, including high prices for hair products and rent, she believes that life will change, given her courage and strength to make a difference.