A VOTE OF THANKS: INSIDE THE KIRYANDONGO REFUGEE SETTLEMENT

Asked if Windle International Uganda’s strides and work thus far has been impactful in Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement, Monica Mugisha answered in the affirmative. Mugisha, who is the settlement commander, reiterated that the organisation’s presence in the settlement has made life much better. However, the one thing that she believes has left the most significant impact is the skills training project.

“Windle has always implemented the programs of the Government of Uganda, one of which is the vocationalisation of education,” she states. “Before the government commenced that program, Windle had already started and the learners had enrolled.” She contends that this has increased enrollment and retention of skills like metal fabrication, hairdressing, hotel management, and is impressed that those who graduated are in business.

“We have seen the first lot that graduated make considerable progress in their lives and can sustain themselves,” she starts before listing her observations. “For example, we have seen some metal fabrication groups produce most of the items that are needed in this area.”

Mugisha adds, ” We also see the cookery graduates producing cakes here in Bweyale Town, the ones in hairdressing have started saloons, and the tailoring group has also progressed very well.”

She has since noticed that the organisation’s projects have occupied most youth because they opt for training in what they enjoy doing and earn from it. Almost instantly, she explains how these projects have gone a long way in fighting idleness known to breed crime in the settlement before.

“The crime rates have dropped in this settlement because people are busy earning an income,” she says with an intimation of appreciation. “Even the young ones I can see them involved in sports which not only unifies people, but occupies their minds.”

However, the self-sustainability component of the Windle International Uganda projects has her even more impressed. “After being skilled, I have seen those who graduated training the ones that are not in school,” she explains. “For example, look at the beauty section, many get trained by those who started saloons.”

Mugisha further observes that the organisation additionally helps the beneficiaries venture into the business when the training is done. “We would like to appreciate Windle International Uganda for helping sustain them by setting them up and paying for six months of rent,” she says. “This has enabled them to get a head start, save some money and sustain their businesses longer.”

Mugisha says that the Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement is not a receiving settlement. Most of the residents would have lived there for at least five years and should have figured out income generating avenues. “We don’t give a lot of land; just enough to add onto the food rations they get from partners,” she says.

Because of this, the Windle International Uganda skilling component helps sustain families and meet growing human costs. “Without organisations like Windle on ground, all this burden would be left to the Government of Uganda alone,” she says.

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