ADF operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have propelled Ugandan government alongside other humanitarian relief agencies to relocate Congolese refugees to camps. However, life in a camp isn’t any better. It is approximated that 60% of the refugees in the camp are mostly women and children, who are unable to erect temporary structures to live in thus it takes the mercy of other refugees in order to set up a home and so are other challenges of life. Leaving everything behind in one life and beginning another in a different country with different laws, different education and health systems, different languages and different cultural expectations requires a period of adjustment. To help conflict affected girls deal with the trauma they could have got as a result of war, RICNET secured funds from Global Fund for Children to advance the dignity of vulnerable children and youth most especially the conflict affected girls in the Rwenzori region and vocational skills training like tailoring ,hair dressing ,baking among others have been availed to the girls who have dropped out of school and carries out mentoring and psycho social support sessions in schools
Below are some of the stories of change told by the girls who have attained the training in Rwamwanja refugee settlement.
Desange Munguiko aged 22years of age, a single mother testifies on how her life has changed since she started training with CEA-KA in hair dressing. In her own words Muguiko stated that “I used to go begging so as to raise school fees and other necessaries but now I can provide for myself because I plait women’s hair and iam given money to sustain me”. Munguiko hopes to start her own saloon where she will be able to get money for survival and taking care of her two children.
Usamukunda murekatete narrates her story of the life she lived before joining CEA-KA. “I used to look at a future that is so bad and hopeless before joining CEA-KA because iam lame so I could not go to dig yet I had to provide for my two children and my blind mother. By then life was so complicated since we only survived at the mercy of GOD. Hope came after I had started training in hair dressing at CEA-KA because am now able to get three clients a week worthy 21000 weekly and able to provide for my family with no hardships”. Usamukunda says she hopes to start her own saloon and after her business from which she will buy land where she will stay happily with her mother as one happy family.
Sifa Shabani of 19years is grateful for having joined CEA-KA training because she is now able to provide for herself and the three children she is taking care of with school fees, clothing and food. Shabani says she can now plait different hair styles like pencil, twist, weaves among others for survival. She hopes to start a poultry project as a side business to increase her savings.
Safi Maombi is 18 years, she lost contact with her parents when war broke in Congo and she ran for her dear life. Maombi is a mother to two and takes care of her two siblings too who are in primary two and one respectively. Maombi in her story, she indicates that from plaiting women’s hair she is saving money for food, clothes among others. She further indicates that, she is planning to have a full fledged house of her own and poverty will be history.
Tumahini France reveals that after leaving Congo, she started digging for three years for survival. In her story, she tells us that when things did not go well, she would sometimes sleep on an empty stomach though she later confessed that sleeping hungry is now history ever since she started training at CEA-KA because she is assured of atleast 7000 shs daily from the people she plaits.
Dunia Florida 21 years of age says she lost her parents during the war and fled to Uganda where since then she has stayed in the camp. Florida is a single mother of one and a foster mother to one who she adopted on their way to Uganda. During her stay in the camp, life was not good since she had to provide for the children yet she did not have a job, a factor that kept her life miserable. However Florida’s life story changed when she joined CEA-KA to gain skills from which she can earn a living for the children. Florida’s dream after the completion of the course, is to work so hard and own a big saloon and starts paying labour in her own gardens.
Mahoro Sarah aged 18 says she came to Rwamwanja with her three siblings after she had lost her parents to war in Congo. She says she hopes to use her tailoring skills and business planning skills she has gained from CEA-KA to raise money to start a small business to pay school dues for her siblings and provide food. With the business planning skills she has gained, Sarah is confident that she is going to manage a business for herself to sustain her daily life experiences and solve her challenges.
Umwari Gentile aged 18 years separated from her father during the war. She is now staying with her mother. Gentile dropped out of school in S.3 due to the war break out. She later resorted to digging so as to cope up with the life in the new environment in Rwamwanja. Gentile narrates that the tailoring skills gained will help her to start up a tailoring business where she will earn money and be able to take care of her old mother and her four siblings. Gentile is so grateful because with the tailoring machine she sees a bright future ahead.
Faraja Ruth 21 years of age, dropped out of school due to the war and so are her siblings who are staying home doing nothing. She stays with her parents where her mother has elephantiasis whereas her father is deaf and above all they are aged. Faraja hopes to use her tailoring to take care and provide for her family. She too says she is going to train other people who are not schooling but will to up the skill for a better living.
Muhoza Anifa aged 18 year lost contacts with her parents during the war in Congo. Anifa is staying in Rwamwanja with her aunt. During her stay in Rwamwanja before training with CEA-KA she used to get a living form World Food Program as well as doing casual work like digging. She hopes to start a tailoring business for a living. To her the skills she has gained from CEA-KA are better than a thousand degrees. Anifa is very grateful for the skills availed to her.
Baraka madame is 18 year old girl, whose father disappeared from them during the war and is now staying with her mother and her three siblings. She says she normally went digging to supplement on what World Food Program provided to them before joining CEA-KA. After learning the tailoring and business planning and management skills at CEA-KA, Baraka says she wants to begin her own business so to raise fees for her siblings as well as taking of her mother.
Mwamwini Oliver aged 19 years a single mother to one witnessed her mother die in cold blood during the war. To save her dear life, Oliver ran away with her two brothers. Before joining CEA-KA for training, digging was the only way she would earn a living. Oliver says the tailoring and business skills she has gained have acted as an eye opener for her bright future because she is going to start a business unto which she will provide for her family.
Migisha Magera is a 19 year old mother to one. She lost contact with the father to her child during the war in Congo. She is currently living with her parents in Rwamwanja. Migisha life before CEA-KA depended on digging for a living. “Now that I have the skills, misery is going to be history to me” she narrates. She hopes to start up a tailoring business to provide her family and pay fees for her child.