House of Plenty Foundation, ED & founder Dr Wanjiku Kaime attends to Sharon Atim
When she dropped out of school five years ago following the demise of her paternal uncle, Sharon Atim had to resort to the odd casual jobs to survive.
She continued fighting the good fight in the hope that one day, all would be well. Indeed one morning, as she walked to Kireka trading centre to start her chores, she saw a friend alight from a commercial motorcycle, popularly known as boda boda. Atim greeted her friend, Rachel Ozaku, and like friends that had lost touch for a while.
Then the big questions came, ‘Where are you these days?’
It was at this point that Ozaku opened up about Hope Vocational Training Institute (Hope VTI). Following that conversation, Atim is one of the 60 students who are undertaking skills and entrepreneurial courses at Hope VTI centre in Kireka.
“I’m happy to be here. I want to study hard so that I can be self-employed and create jobs for others,” a smiling Atim said as she hit a computer keyboard.
The institute is conducting these classes following a memorandum of understanding with the ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, to train vulnerable youth in vocational skills. The project is funded by Sweden’s House of Plenty Foundation.
Speaking at the commissioning of the institute in Kampala recently, the executive director and founder, House of Plenty Foundation, Dr Atterhog Kaime Wanjiku, said the institute would teach entrepreneurship, information technology, performing arts and English.
Dr Wanjiku said the courses will equip learners with skills relevant to the labour market and enable them start their own business.
“We shall train about 600 vulnerable youth, especially sex workers and street children. This initiative is a replica from Nakuru, Kenya where it has been a success. I have been doing a similar project in Kenya since 2012 where 500 youths have been equipped with skills and startup grants in various skills,” Dr Wanjiku said.
“Most of them have started their own business and I hope after this training here, we would have found out if the trainees require similar grants like in Kenya.”
House of Plenty foundation is a non governmental organisation (NGO), fighting poverty and crime by equipping youth with vocational training.
The foundation provides an alternative route of education for primary, post-primary and post-secondary youths. She explained that the NGO has been running as a rehabilitation home for former street children in Kenya since 1997.
“We need to combine rehabilitation with quality vocational training for the concerned children. Some of the youths leaving the home and those from the poor community around the project site are often on the brink of desperation,” Dr Wanjiku added.
State minister for the elderly and disability, Suleiman Madada, recently lauded Hope VTI, saying it is a strategic partner to fight unemployment, one of the biggest threats to government.
“Vocational education will prepare the youth for a career that is based on manual and practical activities related to specific trades. We believe that many of today’s jobs in Uganda do not require an academic certificate but technical training and certificate,” Madada said.