Friends of Orphan's Vocational Training Workshop Construction to Begin!
The first phase of construction of the Friends of Orphans vocational training workshop began in the first quarter of 2011 based on initial funding from Xslaves.org. Friends of Orphans' board members expressed their deep gratitude to Xslaves.org and its many volunteers and donors and reiterated their strong commitment to the project by allocating land and authorizing the commencement of construction. "We are very excited to see our dream become a reality," said Reid Hollen, President of Xslaves.org. "While Friends of Orphans is breaking ground, we are steadfastly committed to achieving our ultimate goal of raising $53,000, which is the overall construction budget for the project."
Xslaves.org’s Support of Friend of Orphans’ Baking and Catering Program
In 2008, Xslaves.org raised money to support a baking and catering program that was designed to provide vocational training to 30 students for 9 months as well as start-up capital so the students could start their own businesses. The following are excerpts are from Friends of Orphans’ report to Xsalves.org:
“We are very happy that we have gained experience in managing vocational training over the years; we have been able to share our experiences, success stories and best practices with others around the world. We have used the lessons learned and success stories to address some of the challenges identified during the past periods. We shall forever remain grateful to Xslaves for supporting the continuity of this project which is a vital lifeline in the reconstruction, rehabilitation and reintegration of our community.
This project contributes to a peaceful sustainable community and improves the self reliance and coping mechanisms of the most vulnerable, i.e., the former abducted child mothers. It also supports their voluntary return to their villages from the IDP camps. Since we received funding from Xslaves, we are happy to report the following:
· Alongside the vocational training in bakery and catering, former abducted child mothers are also being training in management and entrepreneurship skills. They are being equipped with the necessary skills to manage their own businesses successfully.
· There has been constant supervision of the training on a daily basis, and reports are being written on weekly basis to the manager.
· Training materials, equipment and tools for bakery and catering were purchased and are being used to train the former abducted child mothers in vocational skills and on entrepreneurship skills. The major equipment and the tools will be retained at the center and used for vocational training for many years to come.
· 30 former abducted child mothers are now undergoing training in bakery and catering at FRO rehabilitation and training center; the course is taking 9 months. This is to allow them acquire skills which can allow them start up their own income-generating activities to improve their coping mechanisms and self reliance, which is the main goal of our Atim Ki Koma skill-based, self-employment oriented, vocational training.
· We are continuing to provide training, monitoring and technical assistance to the child mothers to assist them during their training as they acquire the skills. This process is ongoing.
· Salaries and contributions for salaries are being done successfully, and this has motivated the staff to work very hard towards the success of the project.”
Friends of Orphans reports that the following activities have been done very successfully:
· Training materials, equipment and tools for bakery and catering were purchased and were physically counted by the staff. All were found to be of good use and of expected quality and quantities. Stock taking for the training materials, equipment and tools for bakery and catering are being done on monthly basis.
· Training of the 30 former abducted child mothers in bakery and catering is going on very well. They have managed to successfully finish two terms of their studies and they are now remaining with only one term of which they will begin on the 7th September 2009. They went on Holiday on the 15th August 2009. We are following the Uganda National Examination Board (UNEB) time table and syllabus. UNEB is the overall national educational governing body in Uganda. A term goes for about three months of constant studies.
· The beneficiaries are being tested at the end of every term to find out if they are acquiring the skills which they will be able to use to start up their own business in the communities. The provision of the business skills and technical support to the child mothers during their training is going on very successfully.
Friends of Orphans was asked to briefly discuss any problems encountered during the reporting period. They responded as follows:
“The relative peace currently being experienced in northern Uganda has made many abductees come out of the bush. This is especially mainly due to the peace talks which had been going on in Juba, Southern Sudan between the LRA and the government of Uganda. This has increased the number of former abducted child mothers who would like to come and train with Friends of Orphans so that they can acquire skills which can allow them start generating their own income. Yet, our capacity cannot accommodate all of them at a go. The project has been implemented successfully without any problems being encountered at this stage apart from the stated problem above. However, the problem we continue to encounter is using a temporary structure as our class rooms for training. There is a need to upgrade the center into permanent structure.”
Friends of Orphans interviewed one beneficiary of the baking and catering program to help assess the program’s impact at the individual level:
· Name: Acen Christine
· Age: 15
· Occupation: When I returned from abduction, I had nothing to do. I was just sitting at home in Omot IDP camp.
· Family Status: I am a single mother with one child, a boy; I produced the boy while I was in abduction.
· Why did you decide to participate in the project? After my return from abduction, I tried to go back to formal education but failed to cope since I have my child with me and there is nobody who can help me to look after him. I wanted to do something which can generate income for me and which cannot take a very long period of time to acquire the functional skills.
· Have there been any changes in your life as a result of your participation in the project? How has it affected your family? Yes, there is a big change. I had lost all hope and confidence in the future, but as I continue training at Friends of Orphans, the future is opening up every now and then.
· How have your plans for the future been affected by your participation in the project?Honestly, I had lost all hope in the future. I should say I had no plan for the future after being abducted and after losing out on formal education. My life had come to an end. But now again I can see that very soon I will be independent economically with a bright future. Friends of Orphans does not know how much they have contributed to my future. I cannot express it because they picked me from between life and death.
· What is the importance of the project to your community? The project is very important to the community. It has changed the lives of very many people in the community, especially former abducted girls/child mothers who had lost confidence and all hope in life. But they are now on the road to success; they will earn honest income and have decent living.
· Has your participation in the project changed your role in the community? How? I believe my participation will now change my role in the community since I will be getting income which will allow me to participate in community development. It has opened my eyes: I can now see the importance of the community so I will work towards the development of the community. It is the community which identified me for the training, and I will give back to them as well.