Uganda, Africa

UGA04c - Jinja Vocational Training

Partnership Ref.:



Thomas & Joyce Lubari



Funding Status:

Partially Funded

Partnership Type:

Training / Education, Orphans & Vulnerable Children, Humanitarian

Funding Size:

$15,000 - $99,999

Annual Budget:

US$ 17,600

Connected To:

UGA04a , UGA04b


Population: 45 million

Life Expectancy: 63.7 years

GDP: US$979 per capita

Unemployed: 12%

20% earn less than US$2/day

Current Partnership Impact

15 families are being assisted

15 people are in vocational or agricultural training

Partnership Overview

finish secondary schoolFor a number of years Joyce Gaba Lubari has been concerned with the number of young people in their community who leave school and who cannot get employment. Secondary schooling in Uganda is supposedly free but it is still quite expensive. Many young people do manage somehow to complete secondary school, but what then? Nothing is free after that. 

Every year, thousands of young people pour into the work force and there are few jobs available or being created in the formal sector. Most of these young people do not have the resources or experience to start their own businesses or the resources to do further training. 

Many Christian young people become very disillusioned during this time. Many girls will consider early marriage as they have no other options. Boys often go onto the streets and become part of the huge unskilled work force, or into a life of crime. 

hairdressing businessJoyce wanted to change this and started a vocational scholarship programme for deserving young people. They are trained in diverse areas; hairdressing, auto mechanics, electronic and computer repair, IT, tailoring, nursery teaching, secretarial studies and practical trades like welding, brick laying and carpentry. 

Thomas and Joyce are originally from South Sudan and also include around five people from there each year. This is because,
1) There are few training opportunities and institutions in South Sudan and it is still very unstable with civil unrest spilling into civil war regularly, and
2) There is a huge skills shortage and unless people are trained, they will have little chance of developing the country as stability returns. 

History of Partnership

require further trainingBHW has been partnering with Thomas and Joyce Lubari since 2007. In that time, they have become involved in micro-loan programmes in Uganda and Southern Sudan, church planting, Foundations for Farming programmes, and trauma training and support to refugees in the refugee camps in the north. They have a huge heart for the hurting and also want to assist their own people in South Sudan to ultimately thrive. 

As pastors in a very poor neighbourhood, they are very aware of the needs of the young people. Some students have come to their notice because their parents in Njeru have been trying to educate them through the loan programme with a great deal of difficulty. However, they have also spread the net wider and take suitable, deserving young people from other areas, especially the poorer north of the country. 

In 2012 Joyce raised her concern with BHW and mentioned that she would like to do something for these young people. BHW spent time talking it through and decided that we would financially support this project. 


changed livesThe main beneficiaries will be the young people who get a chance for training (approximately 15 each year - 10 Ugandan and 5 South Sudanese). We expect that many of them will be significantly helped for the long term. Once they are trained, they will have a much better chance of gaining employment and earning an income. 

Then their families and churches will become beneficiaries as well. 

There are two major selection criteria:
- Those who have achieved decent marks at school. This indicates they have some ability and some desire to succeed. 
- Those who have a good chance at getting employment. In other words, they want to study something that has practical application, and will enable them to get a job. 

This project initially started with Christian young people, but it is no longer limited to those. 

small businessWhat We Like About The Partnership

It starts to address a huge need in the community, both in Jinja, Uganda, the poorer and less resourced north of the country, and South Sudan. This project takes impressionable young people, equips them with skills and launches them into work. 

It operates from a strong Christian base and Thomas and Joyce provide wonderful emotional, spiritual and physical support. They love these young people and pour into their lives, often at great personal cost. 

South Sudan is very unstable, and this is a realistic solution to training for some. It is a strategic way to assist with a much lower risk than doing something in South Sudan. 

These young people would have little or no hope of doing something like this without some outside help.


Key People 

great coupleLeadership Profile

Thomas and Joyce Lubari lead this partnership and are inspirational, doing a wonderful job supporting the students. They have lived in Uganda for many years although originally they come from Sudan, when it was a united country (Thomas was a refugee). Thomas has a background in agriculture and theology with a master's in development. He is currently pastoring the church they planted in Jinja as well as running a number of programmes around Uganda and South Sudan.

Joyce is trained in accounting and currently works in the administration department of a Bible School. She is the only one earning a salary. Joyce is the manager of the vocational training programme. They have five children (one of whom died tragically in late 2021) and live in Jinja. 

Vision And Annual Strategy

The vision is to give young people the opportunity to be trained so they can become self-sustaining and gain good employment. They want these young people to escape the bondage of poverty and become able to thrive and raise stable families. 

This programme is involved in the first tier of vocational training only. If students wish to go on academically following training, then the expectation is that they will use their vocational skills to fund it themselves. In this way Thomas and Joyce can spread the reach of the programme and ensure that it is reaching the poorest people. 

In an effort to ensure a greater degree of sustainability of the programme and 'buy in' from the students, the expectation is that they will contribute something to the cost of the training. 

The South Sudanese students are selected and brought to Jinja. Thomas and Joyce oversee their training and circumstances and look after their medical and social needs. They are also discipled and trained in Christian values. Once they have completed their training they will return to their communities.