Alternative Education and Livelihoods

We believe in supporting children and their families through sustainable methods, rather than reliance on giveaways and handouts. While education is a long-term solution for our children, they are still living in poor conditions and many families struggle to cover their basic expenses. Because of a lack of education, limited opportunities and large household responsibilities, reliable work is hard to find, especially for women.

To try and address this, we have launched several programs designed to increase the incomes of our caregivers. We are primarily working with women as many of our families are female-headed households and women are more likely to spend their income on the basic needs of their family.

Solar Lights Programme

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Mama Rehema

Very few people in the community have electricity, and most use either gasoline lanterns or candles to light their house at night. Both of these can be very dangerous, especially if you have little children running around and are detrimental to health. Therefore, in July 2011, Uganda Hands for Hope launched a Solar Power Entrepreneur Programme. The goal of this project was to not only provide the social benefits of solar power lights (i.e. safer home environment, better air quality etc.) to people within the community, but to also create small businesses and additional income for our Female Solar Entrepreneurs.

As a pilot programme, we selected four mothers to be our initial Solar Entrepreneurs. Each Solar Entrepreneur purchased five solar power lights, at a subsidy, and then began renting out the lights to each of their customers for a small rental fee everyday. The income they earn each week is sufficient to payback their loan and earn a profit.

One of the women (Mama Rehema) in the Solar Lights Programme has been able to extend her house with the profit and start renting out this living area!

Another mother has used the additional income to expand her chicken business.

 

 

Candle-making Programme

Candle making photo of kidsIn addition to our sponsorship programme, we offer an afternoon programme for young people which provides two hours of free education to children in the community who cannot afford to attend school and do not have sponsors. Some of the children in the programme are older, around 11 to 15 years old, and are too old to start or re-start school. Therefore, in addition to the basic education we are providing, we wanted to create a programme which would teach these older children a skill that would help them earn some money for their families.

 

 

IMG_4660We offer the training to 5 of our older afternoon programme children. The training takes two weeks and the children learn not only how to make candles, but how to change the colours of the wax and add in different scents, including a mosquito repellent, citronella.

 

Small Loans Programme

DSC00756Due to high unemployment rates, social norms and low education levels the employment opportunities for women are limited. Therefore, through our Small Loans Programme, Uganda Hands for Hope promotes economic development for women and entire households in the community.  We provide support, along with advice and encouragement, to women to allow them to either start up a small business or improve an existing one. Those involved in the programme demonstrate motivation, ambition and business management sense. They have clear objectives pertaining to their small business, but lack collateral, steady employment and credit history, so they do not qualify for access to banking or traditional loans. Once the participants generate a steady income, they are able to support others to spur entrepreneurship in the community through the same programme. This enables those involved to better provide for their families with their increased income.

Afternoon Programme

For children who are too old to join the sponsorship programme (generally aged between 7 and 16) we also offer skills training and an informal education in the afternoon programme. Each Tuesday-Friday afternoon, children are taught basic reading, writing, and maths. Some of the children are sponsored to vocational training where they learn a specific skill and are prepared to work a specific trade or occupation. The children on our afternoon programme also participate in our candle-making programme which enables the youth to generate income for themselves.