Many single mothers and the youth living in the urban slums of Kampala, Uganda, struggle with a lack of educational and economic opportunities.
In these areas, like Lugoba, Kazo in Kawempe, a disproportionate number of girls do not complete school, they are often forced to marry early, feel like they don’t matter, and lack the skills needed to contribute to their families, which lowers their self-esteem and self-confidence.
Today, the story is changing in these areas thanks to the effort Safe Space Network (SASNET) whose tailoring project is encouraging girls and young women to share their learnings and acquired knowledge with others to benefit from the programs.
SASNET is a not-for-profit organization that empowers youth and women to be socio-economic transformation and environment conservation agents in Uganda.
Nkwene N. Nelson, the Founder /Executive Director at SANET says the ‘SANET Tailoring Scheme’ not only helps women and girls to learn how to sew but also employable skills and financial basics that open economic opportunities.
‘’ By learning to sew and by having access to sewing tools and supplies, mothers and girls can properly clothe their families for a fraction of the cost of purchasing newer textiles. They can also use their skills to sell handmade items. What started out as a small initiative is now growing. Moving forward, we seek to expand the program by increasing its product offerings and its outreach to more areas in Kampala’’, Nkwene told this reporter during an interview.
He added that Youth and women with no employable skills living in slums especially at Kawempe have been skilled in tailoring.
The Training which takes place at Lugoba Community Resource Centre at Lugoba, Kazo –Kawempe, a Kampala suburb is aimed at empowering women and youth with alternative sources of livelihood, making them less vulnerable to gender-based violence, sexual exploitation, drug abuse and HIV/AIDS.
‘’The five Graduands of the first cohort of the tailoring training program have made themselves into a business start-up group. The beneficiaries are making School Uniforms, Sweaters, Masks and Sports Wear. We believe the public support and other well-wishers can push us to improve their start-up’’, added Nkwene.
Local leaders in Kawempe have embraced the project arguing that it is building the capacity of the beneficiaries through training the members in tailoring and craft making, business management skills and marketing.
Gender activists say improving Health (Reproductive Health and Maternal Health), Education (preschool, primary and vocational education), and Livelihoods (skills training) for women will improve their wellbeing in societies.