Kampala. Nashrah Rajab, 21, a former student of Kampala High School and a resident of Kisenyi in Kampala Central Division, last year completed Senior Six hoping to join university.
However, her parents made it very clear that they did not have any money for her university education.
Rajab says seeing her classmates pursue their higher education was hardest moment in her life as she endlessly envied them
At one point, she considered herself a school dropout not until she was approached by a friend to join a vocational centre in Kisenyi which equips youth with self-empowerment skills.
Rajab then approached administrators of Kisenyi Vocational Centre who gave her a chance to join.
She is now happy that she will use the knowledge acquired to enroll for a catering course and later start her own restaurant in the city suburbs.
“I had prayed to join university but my parents didn’t have money. Since this vocational centre has been set up, I am hopeful that I will have a bright future.” Ms Rajab told Daily Monitor in an interview in Kisenyi yesterday.
Rajab is among the 170 youth from Kisenyi who are to benefit from the vocational centre that was officially opened up yesterday.
The vocational courses offered include catering, automotive, welding and leather designing. The study duration is six months for each course.
Kisenyi centre is the second of its kind after the Bwaise Vocational Centre which currently has 280 youth from Bwaise and Kawempe slums.
Both branches were established by the Action For Fundamental Change and Development (Affcad) with support from the European Union (EU) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
The vocational centre is under the project dubbed: Strengthening Social Cohesion and Stability in slum Populations (SSCos), which aims to address the root causes of inter-communal conflicts and political, social and economic drivers of radicaliSation amongst slum dwellers.
It is a four-year project with a funding of € 4.3m (about Shs18.9b).
The project targets to empower 1,000 vulnerable youth and women living in the four slums of Bwaise, Kisenyi, Katwe and Kabalagala.
Mr Muhammed Kisirisa, the chief executive officer of Affcad, said when students graduate, they are given capital in terms of materials depending on their courses, to help them start businesses.
“ Since this project started in 2014, at least 2,000 youth have graduated in different courses and we are happy that we are making change,” he said.
Mr Kisirisa also said students in these vocational centres sit exams from the Directorate of Industrial Training at the Ministry of Education.
Asked how they identify youth in slums, Mr Kisirisa revealed that its mostly done by local leaders.
Ms Sabrina Bazabella, an official from the EU, said they are happy that a project which started on paper, has produced fruits.
She said the EU is committed to supporting slum dwellers to enable them improve their livelihood.