Beth, who is deaf, overcame considerable odds to achieve her dream of becoming a hairdresser and now runs a salon in her hometown in Uganda.
When she was a child, Beth was not able to attend school. Her parents could not afford to pay school fees for all of their six children (education is not free in Uganda) and there was no provision for deaf children at local schools.
Beth wanted to be a hairdresser. Her mother had heard about the Rwenzori Special Needs Foundation's (RSNF) vocational training school on the radio, so got in touch with them in 2017, and Beth gained a place on the hairdressing course.
Beth lived some distance from Fort Portal where the vocational school is based, so at first, she stayed with a friend in town. Later on, she joined RSNF's boarding section to avoid the expense of commuting.
Beth graduated from the year-long hairdressing course and set up a small salon in Karago Town Council, near her home. RSNF's vocational courses includes lessons on entrepreneurship and business, so students are fully equipped with the skills they need to establish small companies or be self employed.
"I plait and treat customers' hair and by doing this am able to earn an average of 10,000 UGX a day, as additional income for family needs," Beth explains. "With this supplementary income to the family, my siblings are able to pay [school] fees and progress with their studies."
Sadly in Uganda's rural villages, negative attitudes towards disabled people, including deaf people, still persist. The fact that a young deaf woman is contributing towards her family's income will help to improve attitudes within her community. She will be a role model for other young people - not to mention the importance of having a career for her own self esteem.
This Christmas, can you help aspiring entrepreneurs like Beth open their own businesses?
We aim to raise £2,000 to provide sewing machines and hairdressing equipment to all 29 of RSNF's current class of graduates so they start work. This includes 17 sewing machines costing £83 each and 12 sets of hairdressing tools and equipment at £48 each.
You can donate by visiting our Enthuse page: https://accomplishchildrenstrust.enthuse.com/cf/christmas