In a heart-warming celebration of resilience and determination, 339 youths successfully graduated from vocational skills training programs in the Adjumani and Kiryandongo refugee settlements. The graduation ceremony, held amidst a backdrop of hope and accomplishment, marked a significant milestone for the participants who had overcome various challenges to acquire valuable skills for a brighter future.
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”.
WIU and YWCA organized the graduation events in Adjumani and Kiryandongo with the aim of ensuring that youths are provided with DIT certificates, and also supported with start-up kits.
Objectives of the activity
- To provide DIT certificates to successful beneficiaries who were assessed by DIT
- To distribute start-up kits to beneficiaries to support them start their businesses.
One of the graduates, Jennifer Ulea, a 32-year-old refugee from South Sudan, expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to learn electrical during the training. “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.
The ceremony brought together national level and district level stakeholders including, Enabel, Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT), Education Response Plan (ERP) Secretariat, Management of YWCA and WIU. The district and local level stakeholders such as OPM, UNHCR, District local government political and technical staff, Refugee Welfare council, Sub-county, village level stakeholders, and representatives from partner organizations were also present, creating a sense of unity and shared achievement.
Speaking at the event, the Executive Director Windle International Uganda, Mr. Andrew E. Omara, highlighted the transformative impact of the initiative. “We gather here today to celebrate the achievement of 339 (Adjumani – 218; Kiryandongo – 121) skilled young women and men from refugee settlements and host communities. These young people are a beacon of hope of commitment having gone through a 7 months training.”
“We have witnessed firsthand the power of education and skill development in rebuilding lives. These graduates are now equipped with the tools they need to create a better future for themselves and their families,” he remarked.
The training programs included a range of vocational skills such as hairdressing, catering and bakery, Welding, motorcycle repair, electrical and electronics. The curriculum emphasized practical knowledge and hands-on experience through work based learning, ensuring that the graduates were well-prepared for real-world challenges.
As the graduates received their certificates from Directorate of Industrial Training, the air was filled with a sense of accomplishment and optimism. Many of them shared their dreams of starting their own businesses or securing employment in their respective fields.
The success of the STEP project in Adjumani and Kiryandongo refugee settlements serves as a testament to the transformative power of education and skill development in the face of adversity. It not only equips individuals with the means to build a sustainable livelihood but also fosters a sense of community and empowerment that will resonate for years to come.