The NGO aims to reduce the HIV infection rate in the area, counsels affected persons and follows-up on their treatment.
It also has vocational training for young people and women, most of which are living with HIV.
In Uganda, especially among young people, the unemployment rate is very high. Discrimination and stigmatization often creates difficulties for HIV positive individuals in the employment area. Uganda has a weak economy with very few working opportunities, especially in the creative sector.
Two months ago, I established a project to enhance the vocational training at YAWE while giving a sustainable job to some of the young people that call YAWE their home. The project consists of a small wood workshop, which is set up on the NGO's compound. Also, we have built our own working table and are now starting to practice wood-working techniques which aims to produce wooden crafts that can be sold in the local souvenir shops or supermarkets.
Step by step, the students learn how to handle the tools, practice a sense of aesthetic, get to know selling strategies and understand simple accountancy.
Additionally, “Life Skills,” like living a healthy lifestyle and dealing with HIV properly, are embedded into the lessons.
For their first product, the students produced cooking spoons. After that, they made keychains. Then, on request of a local tailor, they made wooden buttons. Fortunately, we have found markets for all of our products.
The materials used are leftover pieces of wood taken from local carpenters. These can be bought cheaply or are sometimes even given to us for free, so there is cheap working material permanently available for the project.
At the moment, a small number of students attend the class, which is easier to handle in the beginning because it creates a more focused learning and working atmosphere. As time goes on, more students will attend the training.
The participants who come to class are highly motivated and are happy about the opportunity given to them. The vibe in the team is great and we are having a lot of fun!
The only thing we are lacking are machines; for example, we need a circular saw and a lathe for cutting the raw materials to size. We also need a scroll saw so we can perform precise cuts.
So far I am preparing the materials for the next day in a local carpentry workshop. This cannot be a permanent solution, because that workshop will not allow me to use their machines forever and the students need to learn how to prepare their materials for themselves.
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