Project: Youth Vocational Centre
Partners: Kigezi Healthcare Foundation (KIHEFO) kihefo.org, Mechanics Beyond Borders (Jim Bell), Canadian Auto Dealer Magazine
Since 2008, Change for Children has been working in the south-western region of Kigezi, Uganda with the Kigezi Healthcare Foundation (KIHEFO) to improve nutrition through agricultural diversification and training, and increase community support for women and their families, many whom are caring for the high number of HIV/AIDS orphans in the area.
Project Description: In partnership with Jim Bell, founder of Mechanics Beyond Borders (MBM), and KIHEFO, a vocational centre will be constructed in the small mountain community of Kabale – complete with workshops and a classroom with the holding capacity for 20 students. Kabale youth will have the opportunity to train hands-on to become mechanics, and through their learning will build both confidence, self-esteem and economic alternatives. Trained youth will have avenues for employment within the vocational centre, which aspires to generate self supporting revenue and cycle funds back into enhancements for the centre’s operation and youth programming opportunities. Girls and young women will also participate in the centre through education on basket weaving and craft making.
Regional Challenges: In Kigezi, high rates of poverty and the prevalence of HIV/AIDS have burdened the population, who face immense day to day challenges in securing employment, food, shelter, education and the well being of their children and families. Youth are particularly at risk, many of whom drop out of school (due to the given challenges of helping their families to survive) contributing to a regional drop-out rate of 62% (Ministry of Education, 2011). KIHEFO currently cares for over 300 orphans and vulnerable children in the region, many of whom have dropped out of school due to ill health and the necessity of contributing to the household income.
Impact: Kabale is experiencing local traffic close to 1000 vehicles daily, yet lacks services for automotive repair, which provides youth with the opportunity to take part in alternative vocational training and generate sustainable income. The vocational centre will help youth to develop professional, technical and human resource skills, while creating opportunities for a higher quality workforce.
Our Partners: For over 10 years, KIHEFO has been working in the Kigezi region of Uganda to support the community re-integration of HIV/AIDS orphans. KIHEFO has been active in delivering basic healthcare services, as well as implementing community support programs for families affected by HIV/AIDS and chronic malnutrition.
Mechanics Beyond Borders (MBM) was founded by Jim Bell to involve the auto-motive industry in supporting solutions to poverty.