Uganda: Vocational Training and Tailoring Shop Program
Dr. Martina Fuchs Visits and New Trainees Enrolled: Q2 2017
July 30, 2017
Alphonse Mwanamwolho and Naku Charles Lwanga
Summary of Activities
Since RMF took on the management of Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute (PVTI) in 2011, over 650 trainees have graduated and are actively employed, either running their own businesses or working for someone else. Most of our graduates are refugees, and they are taking advantage of the Ugandan government’s “free employment policy,” which allows refugees to secure employment and move to other locations where their services are needed. Many PVTI graduates testify that this training has changed their lives from being dependent to being independent.
During the reporting period, 70 students completed their training, were examined by the Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT), and graduated successfully. A new class of 75 trainees has been enrolled and started training.
Carpentry and Joinery
A total of 13 male trainees were accepted for training in Carpentry and Joinery (CJ). There were no female applicants for the department during this intake. At the end of the three-month training, graduates are expected to observe all safety and health requirements in their workshops, use and care for timber, maintain and repair measuring and marking tools, etc. Trainees will be able to make furniture, such as stools, coffee tables, and chairs.
Bricklaying and Concrete Practice
A total of 14 male trainees were accepted for training in Bricklaying and Concrete Practice (BCP). There were no female applicants for the department during this intake. After completing the three-month training, graduates are expected to be able to handle construction tools and read sketches at any construction site. The modules covered include tools and equipment, bonding in walls, header bonds, stretcher bonds, and mortar.
Tailoring and Garment Cutting
Learning Through Theory and Practical Lessons
A total of 28 trainees (27 female and 1 male) were accepted for training in Tailoring and Garment Cutting (TGC). Students learn through theory and practical lessons. The tailoring department has grown, and students are able to produce good outfits. We anticipate that the department will continue to expand.
Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy
Twenty New Trainees
A total of 20 female trainees were accepted for training in Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy (HBT). There were no male trainees enrolled in the department during this intake. At the end of the three-month training period, graduates are expected to observe all the safety and health requirements within their working premises, demonstrate hospitality to customers, and use tools appropriately. Graduates will be conversant in hairstyling, weaving, braiding, and hair cutting.
Visit from Dr. Martina Fuchs
Inauguration of New Buildings
During her annual visit to Uganda, RMF Founder and CEO Dr. Martina Fuchs visited Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute (PVTI) to see the school’s progress and challenges, inaugurate the new salon classroom block, and speak with administrators, instructors, and students alike.
During her visit, Dr. Martina Fuchs inaugurated the new Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy classroom block, which was constructed by PVTI’s trainees. Bricklaying and Concrete Practice trainees constructed the walls, while Carpentry and Joinery trainees did the roofing. This classroom block has a training wing, a room to train students on giving massages, and a storeroom.
Celebrating Special Events
World Refugee Day/Candlelight Memorial Day
The theme of World Refugee Day was “Stand with Refugees,” and in Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement, the celebration was held at the reception grounds. Keynote speakers shared their experience, advocated for peace in war-torn areas, and encouraged love and respect among people so the whole world understands that it is not honorable to fight when the most affected people are women and children.
Candlelight Memorial Day is celebrated in Uganda on May 17th to remember those that have died as a result of HIV and AIDS. This year’s celebration was held in Kiryandongo, and since Real Medicine Foundation is implementing health care on behalf of UNHCR and the government of Uganda in Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement, this was a good opportunity for RMF to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS and available services, while providing additional counseling and testing.
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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Born in South Sudan 29 years ago, Deo grew up in Magui and Torit counties of Eastern Equatoria State. Deo is married and has two beautiful daughters, who were born in Acholi. Deo was admitted to RMF’s Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute this year, and he is studying Bricklaying and Concrete Practice.
Deo recalls the violence that drove him from his home: The fateful evening of Friday, December 17th, 2015, he heard rumors of rebels attacking his community with the intention of killing every person who aided the government forces. When Deo received this news, he didn’t realize that his uncle Jeje was a target, as he was plotting with government forces against the rebels. Deo had dinner with his family, and then his wife left to visit her parents in the nearby village. Deo stayed alone in the house and went to sleep. In the middle of the night, rebels broke into his house and started beating him badly; he remembers calling for his children and then blacking out. The rebels thought that Deo was dead and went outside. Then, they lit the house on fire. Deo regained consciousness and managed to get out of the house immediately after the fire had been lit. As a result of the heat, he lost consciousness again and fell to the ground in his compound. This is where villagers found him bleeding the next morning. Deo was rushed to a nearby hospital in Nimule, where he was admitted.
Deo later left his family in South Sudan and walked to the Nimule border, where he was helped by the UNHCR team and taken to Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement. Deo’s wife and daughters have since been able to join him. He still reflects on that fateful day, when he could have lost his life, and he thinks that one day his attackers could come back to hunt him again.
Dorine comes from Eastern Equatoria State and is part of the Birayia tribe. Dorine is married with three daughters, and she is a Tailoring and Garment Cutting student at RMF’s Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute.
Dorine remembers the fateful day when war broke out in Juba during December 2013: She was home with her family, and her husband had gone to town, as usual, to work. When she heard gunshots, she hid her two children in the nearby bush and went back to the house to get a few belongings so she could care for them during the night. But she couldn’t make it back to the house; rebels were already in the community beating and killing villagers. Although pregnant with her third daughter, Dorine ran back to her children, held them by the hand, and started walking. She didn’t know what direction they were heading, but was only concerned with finding a safe place for her children. Trying to push her husband from her mind, Dorine continued to journey through the night with her children. They made it to Nimule, where she met a Good Samaritan who helped Dorine and her children board a truck to Elegu. At Elegu, she was helped by another truck driver, who took her and her children to Bweyale. She made it to the Reception Centre in Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement, where she was immediately admitted to the hospital and gave birth to her third daughter.
Dorine now has three children, but she has not yet seen or heard from her husband. As the days go by, her hope of seeing the father of her children fades. But Dorine is happy that Real Medicine Foundation has given her an opportunity to study at Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute, which will empower her with skills to earn a living and provide for her children.