The youth who were trained in tailoring by JESE under the Skill Up! Project have received sewing machines to help them start their own businesses. The distribution started on Friday, December 16, 2022, and a total of 60 sewing machines will be distributed to beneficiaries in Fort Portal City, Kyenjojo and Bunyangabu.

Phiona Karungi, the Skill Up! Project Officer for Fort Portal City said by design, Skill Up! graduates receive startup kits to ensure they get self-employed immediately after the training.  For the case of those trained in tailoring, each graduate receives a full kit of a sewing machine.

Rose Kaligirwa, one of the beneficiaries from Kazingo in North Division, Fort Portal, said she will use the machine to earn an income that will sustain her family.

“I can now make school uniforms, pillow cases and Bitenge very well. I have been hiring a sewing machine and in a month, I have been saving at least Shs 100,000 after meeting all my other costs. With my own machine now, I will be in position to make some good money that can help me look after myself and my child,” she said.

Immaculate Komuhimbo, another youth and beneficiary from Gweri in North Division, Fort Portal, said before the training, she was a brick layer. She added that she did a lot of other odd jobs, but is now happy that she is getting into a decent job that that is also profitable.

Resty Ngonzi from Kidudu village in Nyantungo Sub county in Kyenjojo district said she dropped out of school from S.2 due to lack school fees. She then hunted for odd jobs but in vain before she gave birth to a baby. She promised to use the machine to get money, support her schooling siblings and also look after herself and her baby.

Francis Alijuna, the Fort Portal Central Division Community Development Officer (CDO) appreciated JESE and the partners for the SkillUp! Project, saying it is adding on the government efforts to fight youth unemployment.  He encouraged the beneficiaries to ensure they utilise the machines and improve on their livelihood.

The Kyenjojo Town Council Mayor, Geoffrey Kagoro Businge, told the trainees to be trustworthy and adopt the culture of saving.

“So, my dear youth, learn how to save. Imagine saving Shs 2,000 per day! That would be Shs 60,000 amonth, and in a year, that would be a lot of money. So please, take saving very serious as you do your tailoring work,” Businge said.

To ensure the machines are not misused, Karungi said each beneficiary signed a Memorandum of Understanding with JESE, which partly said that the Sewing Machine remains a property of JESE for one year and will be monitored regularly.

“If we find that the machine is with a different person or is idle, we shall pick it and give it to another person,” Karungi said.

Additionally, the sewing machines have been labelled so that they can easily be identified in case they are sold or stolen.

The Skill Up! Project in Uganda is implemented by JESE in partnership with Welthungerhilfe with funding by  BMZ – the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development in Germany. The project aims at contributing to a better socio-economic status of vulnerable youth ages 18-30 by providing them with technical, business and life skills in different trades.

The vocational training is carried out in hairdressing, tailoring, motor vehicle and motorcycle mechanics, brick laying and concrete practice, welding and carpentry. It always takes place in selected enterprises located in the four operation areas; Bunyangabu, Kyenjojo and Fort Portal Tourism City, where the trainees work Monday to Saturday, with the exception of one day of “life skills training”.

The training consists of 6 months of practical training and 2 months of grace period; it started on November 16th 2020 and currently consists of 230 graduates. After the training, the trainees get the chance to acquire a certificate by the Directorate of Industry Training (DIT).

Even before the end of the training, the trainees are able to produce quality products or provide their services. It is amazing to see their technical skills develop and their personalities flourish.

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