Kitovu Mobile equips Single teenage mother with sustainable skills, now ably looks after her family
By Benard Kamugisha,DREAMS Sub-County Cordinator,Kacheera
While many of her fellow Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) did not see the DREAMS project as an initiative that would yield them fruits of joy in the years to come, Sylvia Nahera had a far different opinion.
For Nahera, the moment Kitovu Mobile enrolled the project in her home sub-county, Kacheera, in 2016, she knew it was her grand opportunity to to become a professional tailor. This is a dream she had longed for but could not see it come to reality.
DREAMS is an initiative that Kitovu Mobile uses to implement high-quality combination prevention to AGYW aged 15-24 years. The CDC/PEPFAR funded initiative involves implementing multiple (biomedical, behavioral, and structural) interventions that go beyond health, by addressing the structural drivers that directly or indirectly increase girls’ HIV risk, including poverty, gender inequality, sexual violence, and lack of education with the goal of reducing HIV incidence in females ages 15 to 24.
It helps girls develop into Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-Free, Mentored, and Safe women (DREAMS). The core package of interventions offered will include vocational skills,parenting,financial literacy,among others.
And indeed, as the name suggests, DREAMS,Nahera’s dream come to reality.
Excitedly, the jolly teenage mother of three recalls: “Upon enrollment,they promised us us all sorts of good things but what caught my attention was vocational skills training”
Why? Nahera had for so long wanted to get a vocational skill to sustain her livelihood.
The journey, she shares, did not go smooth as it had started. “We had to go through a series of other sessions; stepping stones, “omusayi” (HIV testing and Counselling-HTC)”
Nahera says HTC was not attended by AGYW and a good number of them lost the grip.
“Little did they know that training was about to commence” She says in a rather pitiable tone,as is to gesture that they is sorry for her peers who missed out.
Shortly,she says, the training started in her nearby Village, (Name) where training center was located
Because a good many had lost hope, they did not even attend the vocational training sessions.
Four months later, the training center was shifted to far distance in about 15km from where it had been located.
“The situation got worse! But as the saying goes, never give up,I also did not give up on chasing my dream,” She recalls
Nahera shares that she had a peer from her village with whom they became more aggressive; and they could foot that distance at least four days a week.
Because they had been wormed up with basics on tailoring, she says the training did not take them a lot of time. “More six months were just enough to complete our training at Kibaati modal center”
Exams were done and graduation knocked in. Vividly, she recalls: “We did not sleep on the eve of the graduation wondering how all will go on the graduation day”
A lot, as she says, went on. But giving start-up kits to trainees as per their vocational skill shadowed the rest. Having specialized in tailoring, I was given a given a set of tailoring machine”
Starting her business.
Since she had already secured her tailoring machine, all she needed was just little capital to start her business.
The capital, which majorly catered for rent, was got from proceeds from her 10 hens and a loan
SILC group in which she is a member.
The mother of three then started tailoring her livelihood. For diversification of income, she included edibles and soft drinks.
On a good day, she happily shares that she collects a range of 10000-15000
Having acquired savings and financial literacy knowledge from DREAMS project, the single mother, says she manages her finance earnings wisely. “I use it to pay school fees and other necessities for my children because their father is not supportive”
She wonders how she would have supported them if she didn’t get sustainable vocational skills, lauding Rakai Health Science Program and Kitovu Mobile for this initiative
In a couple of years, she wants her business; tailoring and the shop to grow into a big business. “I may need to borrow more money from our SILC group and put in more capital”