Poverty adversely affects the quality and quantity of education in the slums. Seven out of ten youth in the slums drop out of school after Primary Seven due to lack of school fees, career guidance or simply parent’s unwillingness to enrol them for further education. YSU therefore runs two programs to help increase retention. One program is Child Sponsorship, and the other is Adult literacy.
Sponsorship funds are sourced from friends of YSU abroad to help young sportsmen and women who can’t afford to pay for Secondary School but are active in their sports, and are running programs that help their neighbourhoods. The Model has been effective in helping the child and their sponsor to build a lasting friendship that is driven by a common love, sports. This encourages the child to excel both at school and in the game, they love, knowing that their education is secure.
Football is the main grassroot sport in the slums of Kitintale and Naguru, It is also such a strong uniting factor loved by both the young and old, which YSU has chosen to use it as a tool to pass on our different community development messages. We are using it for two programs; Football 4 WASH and Girls’ Football.
Football For WASH
In our Football 4 WASH program; we use the power of football to influence behavior in the field of water, sanitation & hygiene (WASH) among school going boys and girls. YSU has formed WASH clubs in schools around Kitintale and Naguru slums and teachers are appointed as Patrons of these clubs. These WASH clubs carryout bi-weekly football and hygiene activities to spread the WASH messages. Slums are characterized by shortages in clean water, poor hygiene, poor garbage disposal and a lack of toilets/ pit latrines. YSU therefore is harnessing the communities’ love for football to spread the WASH messages and we believe we can bring positive change to the slums.
Women’s football is still frowned up in most communities in Uganda and there are a few football clubs that embrace females, yet the sport is so powerful that it can be used to sensitize the communities about gender equality, women involvement and impact and also boost the girl child’s self-esteem. YSU, having realized that, decided to use it as a tool to empower the girls in the slums. Most of these girls had dropped out of school due to a lack of funds, early marriages or teenage pregnancies. We therefore formed a girls’ team and each of the girls on the team is given an extra skill in either hairdressing or tailoring. These same girls go out as coaches to help empower other girls through football. These are the mothers of the future and as they say, a woman trained, a nation trained.
Most of the youth who live in the slums have failed to complete formal education because of one or many reasons. Many drop out school because of lack of tuition, teenage pregnancies, lack of study materials but also it is a common practice for parents to give priority to boys over girls, sending off their daughters into early marriages. YSU decided to equip these youth with skills that can help them start up some businesses for sustainable living and reduce inequalities.
This project teaches girls and boys basic tailoring skills for a period of 6 months. They learn machine work, pattern drafting and cutting, fashion illustrations and practical sewing. After the 6 months they are awarded a certificate. With this skill, the student are encouraged to start their own businesses so that they can earn a living.
Hair dressing and cosmetology project
The program runs for 6 months as well with the students leaning both hair dressing skills like weaving, styling and plaiting, and cosmetology. The students in this program also do an internship after the 6 months, and are awarded a certificate. With this skill, the student already has job awaiting them in the mushrooming hair parlors and they still are able to start up their own mobile salon at the convenience of their clients
The Beads Project
The Acholi Quarter is a slum in Kampala formed mostly of the Internally Displaced People from the Acholi tribe who were forced to flee northern Uganda during the Kony war in the early 2000’s. Many people in the Acholi Quarter work in a local stone quarry, where men haul rock and women break it into pieces. The Beads Project was started in 2012 to give the young women in the Acholi Quarter independence. Over 100 women between the ages of 15-25, come together to make beads and crafts. This project provides a vital source of income for these at-risk women. It often covers their school fees in addition to helping to provide for themselves and their families. Their colourful bracelets and necklaces are sold in markets throughout the city. This project does more than provide an income; it is also a place for these girls and women to develop friendships and gain guidance and support from the group.
The organisation implements activities that cover a range of topics that relate to general health, reproductive health, and Hygiene. The training sessions help young people understand the basics of their body, develop skills for personal and household hygiene, and understand sexual Health. YSU is also actively involved in the fight against the spread of HIV and other related illnesses. The programs are designed to use Sports to educate young people on the pandemic, promote behavioral change and enhance life skills