Uganda: Vocational Training and Tailoring Shop Program
87 New Students Enrolled: Q1 2017
June 01, 2017
Alphonse Mwanamwolho and Naku Charles Lwanga
Summary of Activities
We continue to provide financial support and guidance for the four departments at RMF’s Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute (PVTI). During this reporting period:
- 87 new students were admitted for this intake.
- The process of admitting new students was initiated through advertising the opportunity in the community. This led many prospective students to apply to PVTI.
- Many students applied, but only 87 were accepted, as PVTI’s financial support is not enough to support all applicants.
- All students went through PVTI’s interview process, and the selection criteria were based upon passing the interview. All partners implementing activities in the settlement were invited, but only the OPM, UNHCR, Kiryandongo District Local Government, Community Leaders RWCIII, RMF’s coordinator, and PVTI instructors attended the interviews.
- 254 applicants were interviewed, and only 87 managed to pass interviews.
- All materials were provided for the first intake, and students continued with daily programs.
87 New Students
Beginning a New Semester
In this new 2017 semester, 87 new students were accepted at the Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute (PVTI):
- 31 for Tailoring and Garment Cutting (TGC)
- 26 for Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy (HBT)
- 15 Carpentry and Joinery (CJ)
- 15 for Bricklaying and Concrete Practice (BCP)
Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy
The newly constructed Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy classroom is operational and being used, and electricity has been installed. Because the classroom now has electricity, students can take their practical exams without having to share with the Tailoring and Garment Cutting class.
Training Materials Arrive
Meeting Activity Goals
Training activities have run smoothly, since we received sufficient training materials on time. Having all necessary training materials enabled PVTI instructors to plan for day to day activities and meet our set goals on time. Students were able to complete most of the modules, which significantly enhances their ability to be fully equipped with the skills needed after graduation from Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute (PVTI).
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:
- Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy
- Bricklaying and Concrete Practice
- Carpentry and Joinery
- Tailoring and Garment Cutting
- To train the refugees with relevant vocational training skills
- To prepare the refugees for the work world with entrepreneurial skills for both employment and self-employment
- To prepare refugees with basic skills that they shall use for nation building when returning to their home country
- To foster a cycle of improved economic stability and opportunity in the region
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Mary is one of the first students who graduated from PVTI in 2013, and her business has progressed well for four years. She is married with three children, but Mary has managed to run her business for this long, after being inspired and learning valuable skills at Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute. Mary says that she has managed to save money and buy land, which she farms, and she is able to feed her family. Mary is inspired to earn money as a way to create a better life for herself and her children. She envisions a future made bright by the work of her hands.
Although she is challenged by many factors, including rent, high taxes, and high prices for hair products, these have not deterred Mary from making sure that she remains in business. Looking at how much she earns per week and per month, Mary says that in a good week with customers available, she is able to make as much as UGX 100,000/= and UGX 400,000/= per month. Smiling from her shop, Mary says she is thankful for the skills that she was able to gain from PVTI.
Santa has been featured several times in our success stories, because she is one of our most successful students with her own business. Santa has achieved many things with the skills she learned at Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute, and has invited other colleagues to join in her business so that they can also earn a living. Santa owns three sewing machines currently, after her other machines were stolen. Santa explains that the loss didn’t make her give up, because the thieves couldn’t take her skills. She continues to earn a living from her skills and hopes to buy additional sewing machines for her business.
Santa says that having fewer sewing machines has slowed her business and lowered her income, so she looks forward to buying new machines. She said that on a daily basis, her shop receives around four orders; that is to say four sets to be made, and a set contains around 10 pieces. From selling the pieces she and her colleagues sew at her shop, Santa has managed to buy land in Bweyale, where she expects to build her house soon.
Nora owns a salon in Bweyale, where she runs her business of braiding and hair reformation. She also sells weaves, oils, and braids to customers. Nora has been able to make a living from her skills since she left Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute. She also farms a nearby field in Bweyale, where she can pay workers with money she earns from her business. Nora pays UGX 100,000/= per month to rent her workspace, and explains that the rent in these areas has increased, which has somewhat affected her work and made it hard for her to run a business properly.
Nora has been able to raise her inventory of supplies; she is able to buy more with her increased savings from the business. She says that when she saves more, she will be able to open up another business selling shoes. Nora would also like to form a consortium with her friends to ensure that their businesses are well represented and so they can combine efforts towards the competition of the work they do. Challenged by many factors, Nora is quite optimistic about the future. Nora says that due to the time she has been in business, the challenges she has faced can no longer make her weak.
With a growing business, Irene has stood her ground to challenge the youth within Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement that everything is possible if we can realize our potential. Irene runs a boutique in the Mulokonyi business center of the settlement. She started with her skills and one sewing machine (provided by RMF through the startup kit initiative), and with her savings and a loan from her relative, Irene increased her stock, selling secondhand clothes to the people in the settlement. Irene has been able to open up another kiosk in Bweyale, where she also sells secondhand clothes.
Irene experiences challenges similar to our other students in business, but these have not deterred her from progressing in her work, as she has kept on struggling to see that her business stands. Using her certificate acquired from her training at PVTI, Irene has applied for an advanced course, where she expects to expand on her skills and exposure to different areas of design.
One of RMF’s first students at Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute, Martha has continued in the spirit of RMF, “Friends Helping Friends Helping Friends,” by inviting several women to come to her shop and be trained in tailoring. So far, 15 women have learned tailoring skills at Martha’s shop, which has helped make a name for her in the area, earning her the reputation of an expert tailor with a good heart. A mother of two, Martha now has expanded her shop and is sewing Bitenge for men and women.
Martha has been receiving orders from South Sudanese vendors who come to the settlement, and this has made her business expand, and she sees to it that her savings increase. A young woman of Martha’s age rarely thinks of creating more jobs for others to benefit, but she is thinking of buying a sweater machine so that she can employ workers to make sweaters for her shop. Martha is glad for the skills she attained when still at PVTI.