Uganda: Vocational Training and Tailoring Shop Program

Success Stories from Kiryandongo: Friends Helping Friends Helping Friends

July 31, 2016

Naku Charles Lwanga and Deanna Boulard

Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute (PVTI)


In 2011, Real Medicine Foundation opened the Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute (PVTI) to provide much needed skills training and facilitate income opportunities for refugees in Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement (particularly South Sudanese refugees), as well as the Ugandan host community. Since its initial opening, PVTI has provided vocational training for more than 650 young people, empowering both men and women to support themselves and help their friends and family.

Currently, PVTI offers training through 4 departments:

  • Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy (HBT)
  • Tailoring and Garment Cutting (TGC)
  • Bricklaying and Concrete Practice (BCP)
  • Carpentry and Joinery (CJ)



In the recent success stories presented below, we are pleased to report that many of PVTI’s graduates are not only supporting themselves and their families, but practicing the idea of “Friends Helping Friends Helping Friends.”

Rose Kabange

Tailor and Trainer

Having finished her studies at the Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute (PVTI), Rose Kabange set out to find employment. She started working with a friend in one of the tailoring shops in Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement. With the experience she gained, Rose got connected with a friend in South Sudan, and was able to get a job with USAID training prisoners in Juba Prison. With the knowledge she obtained from PVTI, Rose has become a trainer, helping prisoners through skills training in tailoring and garment cutting. With the knowledge she has given prisoners, they are able to start something on their own; these skills provide occupation during and after their prison time.
Through her earnings, Rose has managed to start businesses that can help her earn extra income. As the only prison instructor, the work became hard for Rose, so the organization asked if she could get another person to help her. Rose managed to link up with a friend who was with us called Filda Achiro, who is now working with Rose in South Sudan. Rose’s success is a result of what she learned at the Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute; therefore, she appreciates what RMF has done for refugees and nationals in the Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement. 

Irene Atuherize

Tailor and Clothing Shop Proprietor

Irene has been featured in many of our success stories, and is one of the most talented youths to benefit from PVTI’s skills training program. Irene has developed her tailoring business into a medium-sized shop that not only provides tailoring services, but also buys and sells clothing. Irene began with a capital investment of UGX 150,000/=, which she has managed to increase to UGX 500,000/=. She expects to have earned UGX 1,000,000/= at the end of the year. 

Based in the Mulokonyi area of Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement, Irene says she never regrets for a moment that she attended Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute (PVTI) to acquire the skills that she can now teach other people and use to benefit those who consult with her. With a working rate of about 10-15 people per day who bring their clothing to be tailored, Irene generates around UGX 15,000/= – 20,000/= per day, though these figures vary with the seasons. 

Lilian Kareo


After graduating from PVTI, Lilian started working from her home. She managed to save enough money to open her own salon in the Bweyale Trading Centre. With the small savings she had gained, she paid the rent and managed to buy startup materials that she could begin with. With the startup toolkit that was given to her, Lilian has managed to expand her salon little by little, as she acquires new customers in the town. Lilian says that she can work on 2-4 clients per day, and she hopes that if she gets good machines, customer numbers will increase, since with her experience, she already has regular customers.
Lilian thanks Real Medicine Foundation for the love and knowledge that was given to her and to all her colleagues, because it is helping them, and she requested RMF to continue supporting other generations to come so that will be the only way to create employment. 

Okello James

Carpenter and Workshop Proprietor

Okello is one of our successful carpentry students from the Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute (PVTI). Since graduating, Okello has managed to start his own workshop, where he also employs other people to help him complete orders. Okello practiced carpentry after his graduation, and with the pottery work he was doing, he managed to save and buy lumber to start his business. Okello makes doors, tables, and beds. With his career on the right track, Okello is quite optimistic about the future. He has seen progress in his business, making some good profits. He sells a table for UGX 30,000/= to 90,000/=, making a profit of UGX 15,000/= to 35,000/=. 
Okello is grateful for RMF, because without PVTI’s training, he would not be who he is today. His workshop is in the Bweyale Trading Centre, and he has gained more skills and experience. After his difficult beginning, Okello has found money to take care of his livelihood, and though he has attained that, he is faced with the challenge of a lack of good tools, which would help him to do more/better work; for now, he borrows tools from his friends. 

Nancy Apio

Hairdresser and Salon/Product Shop Proprietor

Before Nancy joined the skills training program at Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute (PVTI), she had already started her small business with limited knowledge and skills. When she heard of PVTI, she applied and was accepted. After three months of training at PVTI, Nancy went back to her business and instead of only selling salon products, which she had done before, she decided to practice the skills she had gained by starting a salon in her salon product shop.
Nancy currently runs a small salon in Bweyale town council, and has generously employed her fellow colleagues. Since she has just started the business, she says that customers are few, but she manages to earn UGX 10,000/= to 25,000/= per day if the clients bring their own hair products. However, if clients also buy products from her shop, her profits range from UGX 30,000/= to 40,000/=. Nancy thanks RMF for the knowledge and skills that she attained during her studies, which have made her who she is today. And she finds happiness in what she does, as she is able to earn a living, and raise her standards. 

Santa Auma

Tailor, Tailoring Shop Proprietor, and Farmer

Santa was an active student at Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute (PVTI). Since she graduated and was given the startup kit, Santa has been able to achieve many things that she could not do before. Now a daughter of RMF in terms of the philosophy of liberating human potential, Santa has extended her love and philosophy to others through her shop, where she accommodates many of the students who have studied at PVTI. Being an ambitious young lady, Santa has also ventured into farming as her business has expanded, making it more powerful as she can employ other people to work for her while she is busy with other ventures. Santa also provides hands-on training in tailoring and garment cutting for the youth who come to her workshop, which she says is another great achievement for her. 

Abeer Josca


After graduating from PVTI, Abeer had nowhere to start her business. However, through the good relationship she had with Santa Auma, Abeer was accommodated in Santa’s workshop, where she set up her machine and began working. Because of her training and this help from her friend, Abeer has managed to make a living and take care of her siblings. She anticipates opening up her own shop after she has saved for some time. As of now, she is looking to expand her business and save for the future.
Like other students, Abeer represents many who are willing to work but have nowhere to open up even a kiosk to start a business. If we could extend a similar opportunity to more people, we would be able to create employment and see more people’s livelihoods improved. Currently, Abeer saves UGX 5,000/= per day, and hopes that when she opens up her own shop she will be able to earn larger profits.
Abeer is grateful to RMF for the opportunity that was given to her, which has seen her grow and be able to improve her livelihood; she is now able to earn a living. 

Faida Florance


Faida is also a graduate of PVTI’s Tailoring and Garment Cutting department, and a friend of Santa’s. After graduating, Faida joined Santa, and they are working together. Faida says that she has learned more in addition to the knowledge she gained at the Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute (PVTI). Her friend Santa shares the heart of RMF; from the moment we empowered Santa and provided her with a startup kit, she has expanded her business and welcomed other PVTI graduates. Thus, Faida got to meet Santa and is now working in her shop. Because Santa provided her a place to start to working, Faida has started her business and can earn a living. Faida said that she is able to earn a living and provide more basic needs for herself than before because of the skills she learned at PVTI; another testimony that the Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute (PVTI) is improving the lives of many in and around Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement. 


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