Meet 17-year-old Samson, an entrepreneur from Bunabuka Village, Sironko District, Uganda.
Whilst he was at school, Samson often found himself swapping his studies for casual labour to support his mother financially. As a result, his education suffered and his struggles at school resulted in knock-on effects to his confidence and a growing feeling of failure.
Like Samson, many young people in Uganda are forced to find employment in order to provide for themselves and their families, often at the expense of their education. Currently, over 18% of children in Uganda aged 5-17 are engaged in child labour (UNDP, 2019).
Leaving school early can often set young people on a path of low-skilled and low-income employment that may not create long-term security. This is a prominent issue in Uganda, as almost 65% of children drop out of school before completing their primary education (UNDP, 2018).
In 2019, when he was 15 years old, Samson joined a Kids’ Club organised by ACET Mbale, one of our partners in eastern Uganda. Kids’ Clubs provide vulnerable children and young people with a safe space where they can access emotional and social support from local community volunteers trained through the programme.
By taking part in activities and games, and with counselling and mentorship from the volunteers, Kids’ Club members grow in confidence, open up about their experiences and gain valuable life and leadership skills.
As an older child in the club, and as he was no longer attending school, Samson was selected to take part in a tailoring course through our Vocational Training Programme. These courses offer young people a chance to learn hands-on skills that can open up opportunities for employment, as well receive training on how they can set-up and manage their own businesses.
With his new skills, as well as tools and equipment provided through the programme, Samson was able to launch his business in May 2021 and is off to a great start! Through the business, he currently earns around 50,000 Ugandan Shillings per week (£12), which has enabled him to continue supporting his mother as well as taking care of his own needs.
Looking ahead, Samson plans to grow his business by recruiting two other young people from his Kids’ Club. Reflecting on his experience, Samson said:
“I was a laughing stock in the village and people thought I would remain a failure for the rest of my life. But, with the skills I have gained, I am going to be an inspiration to my peers both in Kids’ Club and in the community.”
£138 is the average cost for a young person like Samson to be a part of our Vocational Training Programme and to learn a skill that can transform their futures. Please consider making a donation here.