Women in Business: Restoring hope for single mothers

Women in Business: Restoring hope for single mothers
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In January 2023, 23-year-old Charity Awor graduated with a certificate in Fashion and Design from YMCA Comprehensive.

Awor, just like many young people, Awor desired to get a well-paid job after graduation with hopes to start contributing to her family's livelihood in Lira City.

“I would see the friends of my dad, and, how incredible they were with the kind of work they were doing. After getting my S.4 results I told my dad about my desire for Fashions and designs,” says Awor.

This dream, however, faced challenges after graduation as there were no job openings for Awor.

“I thought I would be a very big businesswoman after school. But it didn’t go as planned, I stayed home wondering if I would ever get employed with my skills” narrates Awor.

Awor is among over 200 young women including single mothers, currently benefiting from a women’s empowerment scheme being implemented in Lira City.

The program being implemented by Northern Uganda Women’s Network for Business Development in partnership with the Ministry of Gender seeks to create employment opportunities for young women with vocational skills.

Sharon Okello, the executive director for Northern Uganda Women’s Network for Business Development says at least 200 teenage mothers and young women have been supported with tailoring machines and hairdressing equipment as business startup ventures.

"We believe in the power of entrepreneurship to drive positive change within communities. By providing these tailoring machines and hairdressing equipment, we are not just giving tools; we are opening doors to economic independence and self-sufficiency," says the executive director NUWEBIZ Foundation

Launched in July 2023, Okello said despite the progress that the programme is witnessing, the beneficiaries are still hesitant to take on business ventures as groups. This has seen some members opting out of the ventures

“It is not just about giving the equipment but also constant engagement to solve the problems they are experiencing. We have taught them how to live and operate as one. We are currently using the groups that are stuck together as learning examples for others,” says Okello.

Majuma Agwang, a beneficiary of the programme, expressed gratitude and excitement about the opportunity to turn their passion into sustainable business ventures.

“This is a game-changer for me and the young women in Lira City. With these tools, we can now turn our love for tailoring into a business that supports our families. It's more than equipment; it's a chance for a better future,” said Agwang.

As the initiative unfolds, the hope is that it will catalyze economic empowerment among young girls. The champions for the programme believe the initiative has the potential to uplift individual teenage mothers, fostering a sense of pride and self-reliance among young women.

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