Xslaves.org’s current fund raising campaign is focused on responding to what Friends of Orphans has identified as their most important immediate need: a permanent vocational training workshop. The cost of the workshop is $53,000.
In reviewing the results of the baking and catering program, our first sponsored program with Friends of Orphans, we learned that the program was conducted in temporary structures which served as classrooms. In further discussions with Friends of Orphans, they identified a permanent structure for the vocational training workshop as their greatest need. The vocational training workshop would allow Friends of Orphans to conduct a wide range of vocational training programs for many former child soldiers and abductees for many years to come. It would be the only facility of its kind in Pader County. The closest vocational training workshop now is in Gulu Town which is more than a 3 hour drive from Pader.
Xslaves.org is working with Friends of Orphans on the architectural plans for the workshop. The overall structure of the workshop will contain a number of distinct compartments or units as follows:
· There will be a motor vehicle workshop with a pit in the ground. This unit will also have a gas pipe attached to the wall for blowing dust from engines of the vehicles. Space will also be created for other machines in the shop for removing tires, wheel alignment and balancing. There will be ample electrical power to operate the machines. There will also be a storage area for tools and equipment attached to this shop.
· A welding shop will be constructed to teach metal fabrication. There will be a variety of metal working and welding machines, including sufficient power to operate the machines. There will also be a storage area attached to this shop.
· The third unit will be a woodworking and joineries workshop which will be used to train students in furniture making and other forms of woodwork. There will be about 5 machines in the workshop, all of which will be electrically powered. This unit will have a storage area as well.
· The fourth unit will be a brick laying and concrete practice workshop. This will be used for training students in house building and construction. The shop will be outfitted with several building machines and brick laying machines. There will be an attached storage area.
In addition to the 4 primary vocational training units, the training center will include one office for the principal and a staff room for the instructors attached to the workshop.
In discussing the benefits of the workshop, Friends of Orphans’ Ricky Anywar Richard explains:
“The workshop will equip former child soldiers with the necessary skills for career development and effective business management. The workshop will be a place where practical skills can be acquired. In vocational skills training the training needs to be more practical (i.e., doing the real work rather than just theories learned in the classroom). Most of the time you need to be practicing what you learn, and you cannot do this when you do not have a workshop. Most of the skills are supposed to be learned practically by doing it yourself. The workshop will provide a good learning environment for former child soldiers. It will also improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and the quality of the training given to former child soldiers. The workshop will promote vocational skill training (self-employment oriented vocational and technical training) among former child soldiers in the Northern Uganda region. This addresses the qualitative and quantitative needs of former child soldiers and their households. The approach contributes to both self employment and alleviation of poverty among the former child soldiers. We believe the workshop will change the face of Friends of Orphans vocational training center completely. A vocational training center will never be complete without a strong workshop.”