Some 315 vulnerable girls and women were happy graduates on May 26 as they completed a mentorship and skills course managed by a three-year project of Plan International Uganda and Uganda Youth Development Link (UYDEL).
The graduation ceremonies were held at UYDEL's offices in Bwaise, Kampala. The girls and women included a big number of former commercial sex workers who picked from the urban slums of Kampala city and Wakiso district.
Rogers Kasirye, executive director of UYDEL, said they graduated after being trained in skills like catering, electrical engineering, bakery, plumbing, welding and sweater knitting, among others. He added that so far, some 900 similar women and girls have benefitted from the vocational skills plus free HIV counseling and testing throughout the three years.
He urged the graduands to practice honesty and timekeeping in order to be successful in life, and to value the importance of lending a helping hand because they would not be where they are now if someone had not reached out to help them.
Shamim Nambi, one of the graduands, shared her testimony thus: "I had lost all hope. I was not even afraid of death. I believed I was born with my capital; so, I had no reason to work. All I had to do was go to the streets and get paid. But all that has since changed. I have got out of prostitution, stopped alcohol abuse and now my daughter and I have access to antiretroviral medication".
The project benefits from further funding from Comic Relief and Plan International UK.
By Samson Baranga
This article appeared in the Observer Newspaper and also allafrica.com on the following link http://allafrica.com/stories/201706060130.html