A group of Friends First staff recently travelled to Uganda with Nurture Africa to open a new Occupational Training Centre. Friends First fully funded and assisted in the refurbishment of the Occupational Training Centre and provided all the materials and equipment necessary to teach the local people. This centre complements the IT Learning Centre, opened by Friends First in 2016. This is the fourth year that a group of volunteers from Friends First have travelled to Uganda.
Speaking about the impact Friends First have made in Uganda one of the volunteers said “To see what Friends First have done out there is unbelievable. In an area where the majority of structures are mud huts, the facilities developed by Friends First are incredible and it’s a hive of activity with young kids coming in and explaining what their dreams are. The opportunities this centre has given the kids is unquantifiable.”
Work carried out by the 2017 volunteer group included:
Vocational skills training
The Friends First Training Centre now consists of the IT Learning Centre, a tailoring room with 20 sewing machines and a hairdressing room. After trying their hand at both tailoring and hairdressing the students chose to specialise in either a tailoring or hairdressing vocation. All the students learned IT skills to complement their chosen vocation.
There is a library on the Nurture Africa Campus which is shared by several local primary schools. The volunteers spent some time reading with children from the local primary school. As there are currently a limited number of books that the students have read numerous times, Friends First have set aside some funding to refresh the book selection in the library.
First Aid Training
Health and Safety education was given to the Nurture Africa students to prepare them to administer emergency first aid care.
Sanitary education sessions were held with 10 – 12 year old girls in a nearby school. The absence of appropriate sanitary materials affects the ability of many girls to attend school. As a result the dropout rate for girls attending secondary school is very high. These sessions educated the girls on reproductive health and the use of sanitary materials. Friends First has funded this project for 2,000 girls in 2017 alone.
The volunteers also visited the homes of the families who use the services provided by Nurture Africa to see how their work has benefited the entire family.
Nurture Africa have also provided grants for start-ups and so the volunteers visited the businesses to offer encouragement and advice.