Education is essential to progress and change in a society, and it is slowly becoming more accessible to Ugandans, although there are still many challenges one must overcome to have the opportunity to further their education. Uganda’s educational system is based on a four part model, beginning with two years of pre-primary school, progressing to seven years of primary school, continuing with 4 years of secondary school, and possibly 2-4 years of university or vocational college.
Through our partnership with Cornerstone Academy, we offer job experience combined with a scholarship opportunity to young girls who have recently completed secondary school and who are planning to attend university. They work at Sseko for 8 months, and while learning on the job skills, they also gain experience living on their own for the first time and practice managing their time and money. We have graduated three classes of young women through our scholarship program, and are thrilled that they are pursuing further education at universities across the country.
In addition to the girls in our scholarship program, we have a number of women working at Sseko who have attended university and vocational schools, and are utilizing their skills here at Sseko.
Vicky attended vocational school and received a diploma in Fashion Design and Tailoring. Her educational program consisted of a combination of studies and work internships. She says that she was able to design and sew clothes for her school projects. She is the head of our Design Team at Sseko, combing her knowledge and skills in design, as well as effectively supervising her team. Her dream is to be a famous designer. Vicky runs a small workshop of her own on the weekends where she designs, sews and sells her clothes. Her favorite piece to make is dresses. Harriet, another member of our Design Team, studied Accounting at university and received her diploma after the two year program. She describes university as being a lot of hard work, and consisting of a lot of team projects and monthly exams.
Teopista studied Information Technology at university, and while she has finished her studies, she is eagerly awaiting the results of her final exams and hopes to graduate in December. The original date of her final exams was the very day that she gave birth to her daughter, so she had to reschedule and take her exams a few weeks later. She hopes to be self employed someday and start her own internet café or cosmetology salon.
Aggie studied Procurement at university and believes that education has the power to affect your worldview and broadens your opportunities for the future. She is an extremely hard worker and ambitious young woman, skillfully accepting any procurement related task we ask her to handle. Aggie was encouraged to pursue higher education from a young age by her family, teachers and principals. She hopes to someday be a distinguished leader and inspire other young women to be strong, smart and successful.
Dorothy studied Industrial and Organizational Psychology at university. As the leader of our sole team she say she puts her skills to use on a daily basis. “A lot of things I learned in my program have helped me, such as designing the workplace schedules and organizing the team.”
Beatrice has two children attending vocational school, which she is extremely grateful for. She describes how difficult it is to save enough money to send her children to school, and is thankful for the sponsors that make that possible. Her son is studying Construction and Engineering, while her daughter is studying Hotel Management and is currently involved in a training internship at a local hotel.
Aunt Florence also has children who have completed their university studies and are currently searching for employment. One of her daughters is a nurse, and another works in microfinance, but the rest of her children are still pursuing employment. It is Aunt Florence’s hope that her children find jobs so they can provide for themselves and support her in her old age.
It is evident how much education has already pushed Uganda forward, and the changes are progressive and evident. We are thrilled to be part of encouraging young women to pursue higher education and providing them with the stepping stones to do just that.