In the rural town of Iganga, in Uganda, an outcry because of youth unemployment led a group of passionate and committed locals to work together to tackle the problems in their community.
They formed an association: the Multi-Purpose Training and Community Empowerment Association, or MTCEA. The group’s focus is in the name: empowering people and creating employment opportunities through skills training.
The group did a fantastic job providing a space for people to come together, build relationships, and learn valuable skills. But what use are these skills if they don’t have the tools to put them into practice?
They knew that TWAM would be able to provide these tools, and once they received them, they had a big celebration. We can only imagine how it must have felt to see the truck pulling in, knowing that they were just moments away from their ticket to a better future.
At MTCEA, students learn a wide variety of skills. At the moment, they have fifty tailoring students, five electrical students, five motor mechanics students and seven computer students.
But they don’t just learn the practical skills associated with their trade. MTCEA realise that soft skills play a huge part in building a career, so they also give students training in communication, public speaking, business skills, to name just a few.
All of their courses last six months, and they have monthly tests to check up on their progress. The students sit national exams, so they end up with a valuable qualification. Once they finish the course, they begin apprenticeships, and MTCEA even supply them with their own machine to get them started, as they can’t afford their own.
Most of their students are girls, because they are the most vulnerable in these communities. Many of them are forced into early marriages and become teenage mothers. Girls have few rights in these areas and are often just seen as property, so they don’t see any other options for themselves.
The group offers them more than just training.
It gives them the opportunity to break free from the chains of societal expectations that keep them out of employment. They have a safe space where they can build friendships, cultivate their skills, and pave the way for a better future.
Kevin told us about the impact that MTCEA had on her life:
“I have a friend and she encouraged me to come here. I visited the workshop and saw it was doing good work and was teaching business skills as well. I completed primary school but then lost my dad and could not complete secondary. My mother could not afford school fees.
It was very hard for me, and I did nothing but sit at home for two years. I had no plans as there was nothing I thought I could do. Everything has changed for me now, as when I finish my course I would love to own my own business. When I get my results, I can start a workshop. My life changed when I came here as the teachers encouraged me and helped me to see that I could achieve something in my life. Now, I have dreams.”
MTCEA check up on all their graduates in their apprenticeships every 6 months to make sure that everything is going well. They’re a perfect example of the kind of groups that we’re so honoured to support.
Would you like to support organisations like MTCEA and help to give life-changing opportunites to people living in extreme poverty?
Consider giving us a donation to support our work. Just £25 would cover the costs of collecting, refurbishing, and shipping one sewing machine to a developing community.