Today, March 23rd, 2017, Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute (PVTI) joined with the communities of Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement and the neighboring area of Bweyale to celebrate with PVTI’s graduating class upon their successful completion of our three-month skills training program. The students graduated with a certificate in one of four fields:
In our Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy Department, a total of 17 students graduated, and the Carpentry and Joinery Department had 12 students graduate. In Bricklaying and Concrete Practice, 14 students graduated, and in Tailoring and Garment Cutting, 16 students graduated.
PVTI Principal Ms. Teddy Nakyagaba read out the names of the students that had graduated from each department, with sounds of happiness coming from the audience as the graduates celebrated with music and with a lot of smiles for what they had attained throughout the three-month program.
The principal thanked RMF’s instructors for being selfless and sharing their knowledge, which has enabled the students to graduate. It was also moving when she thanked RMF’s CEO Dr. Martina Fuchs for having created a platform where people’s lives can be changed through skills development, as well as the financial and material support that comes from her office.
The chairman of the Refugee Welfare Council (RWCIII) advised graduates not to yearn for the startup kits, but to move forward with what they have already attained: the knowledge whereby they can start on their own since they have the skills and knowledge that can make a difference in their lives. He shared with them his life situation of being a beggar in Kampala because he didn’t have any skills to do any work, but since he got the skills, he has not failed to earn what he wanted up to this day. Therefore, he encouraged the refugee community to be self-driven in making sure that they are at the center stage of making a difference in their lives, rather than waiting for other people.
The guest of honor was the UNHCR representative. The representative shared with us how his agency is working around the clock to see that they can help on the issue of startup kits and also expand vocational training, but he said it’s a policy issue and the funds are not available as of yet, since they have been in emergency mode. He informed the gathering of how many partners have invested in skills training in the host community and also in Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement, and he gave examples of agencies like Belgium Technical Cooperation (BTC), Save the Children, and UNHCR itself.
The Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement in Bweyale, Uganda, is a UNHCR managed refugee settlement that provides shelter, land, and support for more than 100,000 people. They are comprised of refugees from Kenya, DR Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, and South Sudan. RMF has partnered with UNHCR in supporting Kiryandango Refugee Settlement, the surrounding community of Bweyale, and the greater Kiryandongo District (an additional 266,197 people) with health care, education, and vocational training since 2008.