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UGA04c - Jinja Vocational Training : Partnership Reports

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Report Date: January 17, 2023

Report from BHW Uganda Partnership Facilitator Following Visit October 2022

moving timeWe spent the day with Thomas and Joyce at their home in Njeru at Jinja. Much of the first part of the day was spent giving them space to talk about the issues with the murder of their son Taban Emmanuel on 11 December 2021 and the terrible effects that has had. They are heartbroken. 

Over the course of the day, we also discussed all of the aspects of the ministry and outreach that they are involved in. We had a simple lunch with them and at the end of the day we also visited Taban’s grave. He is buried about a kilometre from where they live. It was a very moving day, and I hope that we were able to provide them some support just by our presence. They were certainly grateful that we had gone to the graveside with them.


Recent Events


time togetherDuring the day we spent with Thomas and Joyce we covered many aspects of their ministry and work in various parts of Uganda. Due to time constraints, we were not able to meet with any of the vocational training students but have previously had extensive contact with students and have been greatly impressed with their calibre and the commitment that Thomas and Joyce have had to their welfare and success. 

We had a very lengthy discussion about the vocational training programme and in Thomas’ words this programme has been extremely successful, and the results have been quite remarkable. 

This year (2022) there are 15 students, up from 14 last year. I discussed the appropriate number with Thomas and Joyce. The need is endless, but I indicated that BHW would not support a great deal of growth here albeit we recognise the value of the programme and have seen its fruit. The number in total for both Uganda and South Sudan has been reduced in recent years from an average of 17 (but as high as 22) due to the vastly increased tertiary education costs, to the present 15. 

Of the 15 students, four are doing a course in motor vehicle mechanics and five are doing teacher training with others doing electric installation, midwifery, accounts/business administration, and cosmetology. 


Personal Stories

The past graduates, most of whom seem to be working, include a lab technician, two in nursing, one in hairdressing, one in IT, several in early childhood education, one working in Juba in motor vehicle repair, one in plumbing, one in electrical, and several in construction.

We previously reported on Dominic whose parents were massacred during the war in South Sudan. Dominic is now living in Juba and is married. Although he has trained in construction he is referred to by his employer as an engineer and is very proud.

In 2019 we also reported on several students who were training in IT and working in Koboko. Tom Brown who graduated, is working in Koboko for an American missionary. Another one, Isaac, has trained but is now studying Bible and theology.

Here are some outcomes:
- Nancy - Lab technician in Njeru, Jinja
- Jacinta - IT. Pays school fees for her siblings
- Esther - Early childhood educator. Paying parent's rent and siblings school fees
- Taban Simon - Lab technician in Juba
- Victor - Motor vehicle repairer in Juba
- Vincent - Plumber
- Malesh - Electrical. He has obtained a scholarship for further training in Lira.
- Brenda - Early childhood educator
- Dominic - Construction.
- Tom Brown - Missionary assistant
- Isaac - Bible and theology

During the two-year lockdown they had also received a phone call from one of the previous students who telephoned them to say how grateful he was with the VCT and sent them 200,000 shillings as a sign of his gratitude.


Current Issues and Challenges

It has been extremely difficult to get anything close to the 50% recovery in fees from graduate students. Even though they signed an agreement to repay, it seems like this is going to effectively go nowhere. This also has been exacerbated by the lockdown. It is very hard to estimate or understand how difficult things here are post-Covid. There is very little available cash in the economy, huge numbers of people are struggling with underemployment or unemployment, and those who have jobs get irregularly paid. In addition, many of the graduates have families to support.


Plans for the Future

We did discuss, and make it clear to Thomas and Joyce, that if the vocational training programme was to continue there would have to be some commitment from each of the students to make an upfront payment of say US$100. We also discussed that the programme should only run now to a maximum of 15 people, 10 from Uganda and 5 from South Sudan. However, since I started writing this report, I have had communication from Thomas about this year’s intake of students. He has now told me that there is one other South Sudanese not on the list, Rose Fikira, who is doing tailoring and design, so there are 6 South Sudanese and 10 Ugandans. Apparently, he is expecting all of them to contribute the $100 although he has indicated that three are orphans and the rest vulnerable or unsupported by their families. However, he seems to be confident that they can make it work. 


Prayer and Praise Points

This report has been a pleasure to write as I have a lot of confidence in the efficacy of this programme, even though it will never be self-sustaining. The students we have met over the years have been extremely impressive and I am really grateful that BHW has chosen to become involved in it. It is benefitting people well beyond initial expectations, particularly as many are orphans, and some are now married and starting their own families. There is a lot to give thanks for here.



I do think that there should be some financial commitment from the students right at the start but the outcomes from this programme seem so exceptional that it is hard to ignore the benefit. If we are looking at doing things that are going to create benefit and a “rise and lift” in the community, then this is undoubtedly one of those things. We have certainly seen and heard good things about a lot of the graduates. 

Realistically I don’t think there will be any way to get a repayment back to the programme by graduates. There are just so many financial pressures in this country and a mindset which it will not be possible to overcome in the short term. I think that we need to simply accept that this programme is an investment in the vulnerable youth of Uganda who may otherwise seek a life of crime or prostitution etc.