Jennifer Ulea’s Journey in the Electrical World of Adjumani Refugee Settlement

In the sprawling Adjumani Refugee Settlement, amidst the challenges and uncertainties that define the lives of refugees and host communities, emerges a story of resilience and determination of Jennifer Ulea, a 32-year-old refugee from South Sudan.

Jennifer Ulea’s journey began in war-torn South Sudan, where conflict and displacement uprooted her from her home and forced her to seek refuge in neighbouring Uganda. Arriving in Adjumani Refugee Settlement, Jennifer found herself amidst a sea of struggles, where access to basic amenities and opportunities seemed scarce.

All this changed when she saw a poster calling for refugees and host communities to register for a vocational skills training. This was under the Skills Training for Employment Promotion (STEP) project implemented by Windle International Uganda (WIU) and Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) with funding from Enabel that aimed at empowering individuals with practical skills that would enhance their employability and contribute to their self-sufficiency. The overall goal of the project is; “youth, women and girls in Adjumani and Kiryandongo are, economically, and socially empowered with skills to sustain their livelihoods”.

Jennifer registered for the training and was selected as one of the beneficiaries where she trained for 7 months until graduation day. “This program has not only equipped me with the skills to make a living but has also given me a sense of purpose. Right now I can wire a house and ensure that the lights work perfectly. I also earn income of my own,” she said, beaming with pride.

Despite the odds stacked against her, Jennifer was determined to defy stereotypes and carve out a better future for herself. In a community where electrical work is predominantly seen as a man’s domain, Jennifer boldly enrolled for it. “At first, I had some fears that I cannot manage this course. However, with time, I gained the confidence and believed that I can do it. That helped me to succeed and pass,” Jennifer noted.

Through perseverance and hard work, Jennifer not only excelled in her coursework but also emerged as a trailblazer, challenging preconceived notions about women’s roles in the electrical field. Her resilience and determination served as an inspiration to other young women in the settlement, encouraging them to pursue their aspirations fearlessly.

Jennifer has embarked on a mission to electrify her community, using her newfound skills to install and repair electrical systems in homes and businesses. “The community is happy because I wire their houses so that they can have electricity,” Jennifer shared.

Through her work, she is not only provided vital services to her fellow refugees but also empowered herself economically, gaining independence and self-sufficiency in the process. “I can support my needs and those of my family because of the income I earn from this job,” she noted.

Jennifer’s story serves as a testament to the power of perseverance and the transformative potential of education. In the face of adversity, she refused to be confined by societal expectations, choosing instead to chart her own path towards a brighter future.

 

Written by: Joseph Waninda

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